THE University of Adelaide in South Australia is seeking to better understand the psychological health needs of Australia's city and country communities.
An online survey has been put together by Psychology PhD student Carly Sutherland after health workforce data revealed a greatly uneven distribution of psychologists across the nation.
With almost 30,000 practitioners, psychology is the third largest health profession in Australia after nursing and medicine. More than 81% of Australian psychologists work in major cities, with the remainder in rural and remote areas.
"Through this study we hope to identify potential improvements in psychological health care for the entire nation, both from the point of view of the psychology providers and from the public perspective," Sutherland says.
"An important aspect of this is to understand more about what’s required to work as a psychologist in the country, so we can help to address this gap in services. Such knowledge may lead to improvements in recruitment and retention of psychologists in rural areas."
As part of her research, Ms Sutherland has been interviewing psychologists who provide fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) and drive-in, drive out (DIDO) services in rural and remote areas.
"FIFO and DIDO work practices have been central to the resource and mining sectors in Australia for many years, but little has been known about the experiences of psychologists who provide these services, and community attitudes towards them," Sutherland says.
Australians aged 18 and over – from either city or rural communities – are needed to take part in a short survey about psychology services. To participate, visit the study website: http://bit.ly/ozpsychsurvey