Thursday, March 14th, 2013
A new service has been launched to help resolve the problem of shrinking mental illness resources in rural Australia through delivering professional development webinars for psychologists, therapists, counsellors and students working with rural and remote Australian communities.

Studies show that while the prevalence of mental illness in Australian rural areas is on par with our cities , the rate of poor mental health outcomes, and in particular suicide, is significantly higher in rural populations. By 2020, with depression projected to reach second place in the global burden of disease rankings, rural Australians will face an even higher mental health burden (

With depression and high rural suicide rates an ongoing issue of major concern, the new service ( is a creative solution to addressing dwindling resources for mental illness/health in Australia’s rural areas, through providing high quality live webinars on psychology subjects from experienced specialists.

Project founder and Riverina NSW farmer Stephen Violi said the initiative’s supporting Facebook page ( has already attracted over 3,000 followers since its launch in early January.

“There is an urgent need for mental illness support in many Australian rural communities and in just two months we’ve already built a strong online community, which now has immediate virtual access to these professional webinars and resources.

“I am not a psychologist but I have a strong personal interest in improving mental health resources in the country, so took action and started this service, while also studying for a counselling qualification. I know many rural people suffering from depression or affected by suicide who need access to better resources that are available much more easily and affordably in our cities, which are very expensive for country people to travel to for treatment.”

Violi said that will provide live online webinars on the latest development practices, with attendees learning from highly qualified guest presenters discussing their specialist topics, including professors and researchers who have taught other psychology professionals.

“The primary objective is to ‘bring the country closer to the city’ in terms of providing the opportunity of low-cost professional development to rural mental health practitioners, as well as hopefully removing a barrier of attracting professionals to country areas.

“Professionals and students can connect live from wherever they are on our interactive platform, accessing live psychotherapy training from experienced lecturers and practitioners. The site puts beginner-to-advanced training within reach of remotely-based professionals and students in communities right around the country.”

Webinars will run for about an hour, featuring approximately 45 minutes of presentation and 15 minutes of audience questions. Violi said that during initial market testing, many city-based university social sciences students had also expressed interest in this ongoing education format, signing up for the initiative’s launch and training events.

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For further information:
Stephen Violi
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 0411 965 611

Additional Rural Mental Health Resources:
Rural Mental Health (online forum) –
MensLine – 1300 78 99 78LifeLine – 13 11 14
beyondblue Info line – 1300 22 4636
SANE Helpline (wide range of information on mental illness and suicide prevention) – 1800 55 1800
beyondblue –
Australian Men’s Shed Association –
Mensheds Australia Ltd –

Contact Profile

The Psychology Webinar Group

The Psychology Webinar Group provides high quality, low cost continuing professional development via live webinars for psychologists, psychotherapists, counselors, mental health and social workers and students of the profession particularly in rural and remote areas.
Stephen Violi
P: 0411 965 611


Mental Health, Mental Illness, Rural/Remote, Psychologists, Counselors, Students of Psychology and Counseling



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