Nelly in Orange, Australia – Chapter 3

We are excited to be connecting with Dr. Nelly Oelke throughout the course of her study leave in Australia! Dr. Oelke is an Advisory Committee member for the Rural Health Services Research Network of BC and will be continuing her work on exploring the mental health impacts of climate change events in rural communities among men and adults who are over the age of 50 at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health. Stay tuned at the end of every month to learn more about the evolution of her work in Orange, Australia.

October 11, 2019

Things have been going well with various opportunities to connect with individuals at the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health (CRRMH). The Centre is located not far from where we are staying, just a nice 4 km bike ride each way. Thankfully, there aren’t too many steep hills, although the hills that do exist are gentle in their slope, but long.

This last week was very warm; in many areas around Orange it was in the mid thirties. These high temperatures created havoc for large portions of NSW, other states, and the Northern Territory here in Australia. I am sure you have heard of the many bush fires that have destroyed homes and claimed the lives of several people. Dust storms were also common. This week has been much cooler with near to zero temperatures in the morning (not so great for cycling).

One of the opportunities I had was to attend the launch of the new edition of the “Glove Box Guide for Mental Health.” The Guide is published annually, in paper copies and an online version, with stories of people with mental health and how they have coped living in rural communities throughout the state of NSW. Along with the resources provided in the Guide, it is well used by Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) Coordinators and others to raise awareness and help others see themselves in the stories written. The Guide was awarded the Mental Health Services Medal for mental health services, the top award in mental health services in Australia and New Zealand.

This next week I am off to New Castle to meet with various individuals from the University of New Castle and the Central Coast Local Health District. I am looking forward to meeting and learning from these folks and seeing more of Australia.