Call to add to South West study

Ailish DelaneyBunbury Herald

South West residents who have accessed, or are attempting to access, substance use services in the region have been encouraged to participate in a new study by researchers at the Rural Clinical School of WA.

Albany addiction psychiatrist and lead researcher Mat Coleman said access to drug and alcohol services in the South West was problematic.

“The South West has had particular issues with alcohol, meth and cannabis for quite some time,” he said.

The study will try and identify people’s experiences with substance problems and difficulties accessing help, and what those difficulties are over the COVID-19 period as well.

Associate Professor Coleman said the study would be used to inform addiction service providers and organisations that fund services when developing and running services for people with substance problems in the region.

“Personal experiences will hopefully inform how services organise themselves in the future,” Prof. Coleman said.

It’s an opportunity for direct feedback for services in the South West in a scientific way and will help shape the services moving forward.

Prof. Coleman said the qualitative study would require 30 to 40 people to take part in a phone interview with a trained interviewer.

“Through the study, we’ll start to develop themes with the interviewees and these will help identify the problem areas,” Prof. Coleman said.

“As a Rural and remote mental health researcher, these studies aren’t often done in regional areas.

“The South West is unique because it has larger areas like Bunbury and also more remote towns.

“We don’t realise the demographic is so broad in the South West, and we’re interested in the experiences of the whole range of people.”

Researchers are still looking for participants for the recently announced study.

For more information, contact Annie on 0439 095 023 or Cheryl on 0491 647 370.

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