Understanding the social determinants of rural health.
Most of us know that if we eat too much junk food, have too much alcohol, smoke, don't get enough fruit and vegetables or don't exercise we will get very sick.
What is less well know is that things like where we live, our access to educational opportunities and the availability of rewarding jobs also has a really big impact on our physical and mental wellbeing.
In fact, it has been estimated that 80 percent of the causes of poor health stem from where we live, how we live and what we consume. Only 20 percent is a direct result of access to clinical care.
Understanding and addressing the social determinants of health has been found to significantly reduce levels of disease in the community, and significantly reduce government spending on health and welfare.
LEAD Centre (2015) The Impact of Employment on the Health Status and Health Care Costs of Working-age People with Disabilities
RARMS has been working with rural, remote and Indigenous communities to support better health and access to health services for almost 20 years.
We know that good quality primary health care relies on more than having access to local rural GPs and nurses. It relies on community engagement with the social determinants of health, and the planning of holistic solutions.
While many rural, remote and Indigenous communities share common health challenges, that doesn't mean that the same solution works for every community. Having lived and worked in diverse rural and remote communities has enabled RARMS to build a deep understanding of the drivers of poor health and wellbeing in the community, and enables us to work with local people to develop plans to engage the whole community in wellness focussed activities.
RARMS works with local communities to build a better understanding of local health characteristics and needs, analyse available services and gaps, and supports communities to design plans that improve how the community addresseses both the causes of poor health as well as the consequences.