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J Telemed Telecare. 2002;8 Suppl 3:S3:29-33.

Videoconferencing training for those working with at-risk young people in rural areas of Western Australia.

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YouthLink, Inner City Mental Health Services, Royal Perth Hospital, in collaboration with the West Australian Institute for Psychotherapy Research, Perth, Australia.


Rural Links is a videoconference training initiative developed for those who work with at-risk young people in remote and rural regions of Western Australia. The training programme was run twice (in parallel) for two groups of participants: 17 workers from the Great Southern and South West regions of Western Australia and 15 workers from the Wheatbelt, Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia. The programme consisted of seven 2 h sessions presented over 12 weeks. Objectives of the training programme centred on increasing participants' knowledge and confidence in relation to the training topics. The initiative also aimed to enhance consultation between rural youth networks and a metropolitan-based youth mental health service (YouthLink). Analyses indicated that there were improvements in workers' knowledge and confidence in relation to training topics following participation in the programme. Comparisons of the improvements made by these rural participants, who accessed training via videoconferencing, and metropolitan participants, who accessed training face to face, revealed few significant differences. Rural participants reported high levels of satisfaction, decreased feelings of professional isolation and an increased likelihood of accessing YouthLink for consultative support as a result of completing the Rural Links training programme.

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