Queenslanders living and working in rural and remote communities experience different challenges to people living in urban areas. Distance, the financial environment and the weather all play a big part. The gap between health service deliveries is often quite wide in comparison to urban areas. Not surprisingly, these things can impact stress levels, mental health and social relationships. Risky drinking, domestic violence, road injuries, assault, and suicide are disproportionately higher in rural and remote communities than in regional and urban areas. In fact, the greater the distance you live from a major city, the greater the proportion of the population are drinking at risky levels.
Source: National Rural Health Alliance inc, 2014, Alcohol use in rural Australia. Available from: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/reports/prq-prevention-of-harm-from-alcohol-consumption-in-rural-and-remote-communities
The factors behind the high rates of risky drinking in rural and remote communities are highly complex. Some of the common issues can include:
|Proportion of population who drink at risky levels||Major cities||Inner regional||Outer regional||Remote / Very remote|
|... for lifetime harm||19%||22%||25%||31%|
|... for single-occasion harm||15%||17%||19%||26%|
- Limited recreation and leisure activities and facilities. Sometimes the only avenue for socialisation is sporting clubs and pubs, both of which often involve a drinking culture.
- It can be difficult to recruit, retain and fund adequately trained health professionals.
- Vast distances to healthcare services act as a barrier for those seeking care, especially for alcohol and other drug rehabilitation, detoxification, and linked mental health issues.
- Concerns regarding privacy and confidentiality in a small close knit community.
Information in this section has been drawn and adapted from the following sources:
- Baxter, J, Hayes, A & Gray, M, 2011, Fact sheet: Families in regional, rural and remote Australia, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Australian Government. Available from: https://aifs.gov.au/publications/families-regional-rural-and-remote-australia
- DrugInfo Clearinghouse, 2008 Prevention of harm from alcohol consumption in rural and remote communities, DrugInfo Clearinghouse, Australian Drug Foundation, Melbourne, Victoria. Available from: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/reports/prq-prevention-of-harm-from-alcohol-consumption-in-rural-and-remote-communities
- Miller, P, Coomber, K, Staiger, P, Zinkiewicz, L, & Toumbourou, J, 2010, Review of rural and regional alcohol research in Australia, Australian Journal of Rural Health, Vol. 18, p.p. 110-117.
- National Rural Health Alliance inc, 2014, Alcohol use in rural Australia, NAAA, Deakin East, ACT. Available from: http://www.druginfo.adf.org.au/attachments/346_PRQ04Feb08_final.pdf