Group of senior friends smiling on camera after an outdoor exercise class

Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug, and Suicide Prevention Redesigning services to meet community needs

Country to Coast, QLD is working with local health partners, community members and health care providers to design a new model of service delivery for primary care mental health and wellbeing services.

Our vision is to establish a person-centered system, where every individual in the region, particularly those with the most significant needs, can access timely, appropriate care and have a voice in determining the types of services available.

The case for change

Building together

Service reform


The case for change

Our investment in mental health, alcohol and other drugs, and suicide prevention services has been increasing year on year, though health needs data indicates that our communities still face significant issues.

Across our region, rates of mental health, suicide and substance use disorders are higher than the state and national average, with extensive impacts on families and carers, and our healthcare services.

  • In the past six years, though total funding has increased 24% from 2017/2018 to 2023/2024, the prevalence of mental and behavioural conditions is notably higher in our region (23,056 per 100,000) compared to Australian averages (20,084 per 100,000).
  • Our regional population has higher rates of alcohol consumption and related hospitalisations, coupled with significantly higher hospitalisation rates for intentional self-harm, than state and national averages.
  • Rates of illicit drug use are significant.

Central Queensland, Wide Bay, and Sunshine Coast regions also face unique challenges in addressing mental health, suicide and substance use disorders, due to geographical diversity, demographic composition, industry variations, and healthcare system dynamics.

  • The broad regional footprint can make it difficult to access services, especially in remote and rural areas.
  • Our priority populations of First Nations communities and youth require tailored approaches to service delivery.
  • Varied industries across our region, including mining, agriculture, and tourism, influence the mental health and wellbeing of the workforce and communities that support them.
  • Differences in income and socio-economic status can affect access to healthcare.

These factors are driving our reform efforts to boost early intervention and prevention pathways and ensure community-based treatment services respond to local needs.

Building together

Responding to the challenges of our region requires us to think differently about the types of services we need and how they are delivered. We are working closely with health providers and community members, including people with lived experience, to identify issues with current services and how people can more easily access the support they need.

Project stages 

Service reform

Our goal with this reform is to make real, lasting changes in the way we approach mental health and substance use in our community. Here's what we're working towards:



Strategies for Achievement

Address social determinants

Consider the underlying factors like housing, employment, and social connections that impact mental health.

· Collaborate with non-health sector stakeholders

· Implement community development projects

Enhance service integration

Ensure seamless collaboration between various mental health, suicide prevention, and substance use services.

· Develop integrated care pathways

· Facilitate cross-sector partnerships and data sharing agreements

Improve accessibility and affordability

Make mental health, suicide prevention, and AOD services more accessible and affordable in the community.

· Expand community-based services

· Implement subsidised or free services for those in need

Raise quality and safety

Improve the quality, safety, and capacity of mental health and suicide prevention services.

· Adopt evidence-based practices

· Train communities and the workforce  in quality and safe practices

Ensure timely and appropriate care

Ensure individuals receive the right care at the right time and in the right place.

· Develop a stepped care model

· Increase outreach and early intervention and prevention programs

Support recovery from substance use

Reduce the impact of substance use on individuals, families, and communities.

· Provide comprehensive recovery programs

· Support family and community education initiatives

Promote independence

Support independent living for people with severe mental illness.

· Purpose built psychosocial services

· Offer vocational training and employment support

Reduce suicide and self-harm

Implement regional services with a focus on growing the capability of the sector and community to recognise and respond to suicide risk.

· Enhance crisis intervention services

· Invest in post-intervention support programs

Build resilience and wellbeing

Improve individual and community resilience and overall wellbeing.

· Implement community wellbeing programs

· Promote mental health literacy and self-care practices

Focus on high-risk groups

Target interventions towards groups at highest risk of suicidal behaviour.

· Develop targeted support services for high-risk groups

· Conduct community outreach and engagement initiatives

Foster collaboration and coordination

Enhance program and policy coordination through partnerships.

· Establish multi-sectoral oversight and accountability structures

· Coordinate or commission collaborative forums and workshops

Implement structural interventions

Conduct long-term structural changes in areas of greatest need.

·  Advocate for policy changes

· Invest in infrastructure and resource development in underserved areas



For more information