Rural communities have the same kinds of health, well-being and social needs as do communities everywhere. Of course there are special challenges that the fewer economic and social options, based in distance and differential funding, bring to rural people. But there are special strengths, too, that rural communities develop, as people come together to create the best conditions for all ages and social groups.
The Rural Communities Australia Community Health &Well-Being Framework is displayed in the attached document. It is organised by the age groups that run down the left hand column: families, children, young people, adults and older people.
Each life stage has its own needs and priorities. These are displayed under four columns: creating supportive environments; strengthening community action; developing personal skills; and re-orienting health services.
The main principles guiding the framework are:
1. Health and Well-Being are holistic. They relate not only to physical and mental health, but to all the parts of the social and natural environment that surrounds individuals in communities. Genuine health and well-being comes from attending to the whole.
2. Health and Well-Being are best developed by being self-directed and self-organised. It is when individuals, families and community groups take ownership and pro-actively design and implement their own programs that the best outcomes are achieved.
3. Health and Well-Being programmes are most effective when they are learning programs. Individuals and communities learn by doing: it is through action, and through reflecting on the outcomes of action, that the path to the programs best suited to individual and community needs is created.
4. Health & Well-Being community programmes are best supported by joined-up services. There needs to be a close relationship between community groups and initiatives; local, state and federal government agencies; and service providers. In this the role of advocacy for health and social care is crucial, particularly for disadvantaged and disenfranchised people.