Rural nurses: A convenient co-location strategy for the rural mental health care of young people

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Aims and Objectives: The aim of this research was to understand new ways that young rural people with mental health problems could be helped at an early point in their mental health decline. Background: Rural nurses represent skilled mental health helping capital in their local communities, yet this important mental health helping resource, or helping capital, is both under-recognised and under-used in providing early mental health help in rural communities. In recent years international momentum has gathered in support of a paradigm change to reform the delivery of youth mental health services so that they align more closely to the developmental and social needs of young people with mental health problems. Design: A mixed methods case study design was used to explore the early mental health care needs of young rural people. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted and data were analysed with descriptive techniques. In-depth interviews were conducted and the transcribed data were analysed using thematic techniques. Results: The results of this study demonstrate that in general rural people are willing to seek mental health care, and that rural nurses are well suited to provide initial care to young people. Conclusions: Non-traditional venues such as community, school and justice settings are ideal places where more convenient first conversations about mental health with young people and their families, and rural nurses should be deployed to these settings. Relevance to Clinical Practice: Rural nurses are able to contribute important initial engagement interventions that enhance the early mental health care for young people when it is needed.




Wilson, R. L., & Usher, K. (2015). Rural nurses: A convenient co-location strategy for the rural mental health care of young people. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 24(17–18), 2638–2648.

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