A Crisis for Rural and Regional Communities. A Personal Message from Bp COO Craig Hodges

You may be aware that much of rural Australia is now experiencing one of the worst droughts on record. Rainfalls have been very low – if at all – during 2017/18, and the dry forecast ahead for states including New South Wales and Queensland is very concerning. Recent analysis shows this may be the worst drought in more than a century (or on record) and is estimated to impact hundreds of rural communities – and thousands of very decent people – before it breaks. The effect from this drought flows through our community. Farmers have no crop, or food/water for their herd; farming families lose their income; local businesses face significant downturn because trade decreases; charity and community groups are inundated with requests for assistance, some of them quite dire; and those people living on, or supported by, the land are faced with enormous personal anxiety or depression due to debt, helplessness, despair, uncertainty or loneliness. This leaves a huge personal and human “cost” in communities that we may never fully realise, but the stories emanating from the despair are truly heartbreaking. Some of the people working in local communities to help pick up the pieces of shattered lives are Best Practice customers – the community-spirited doctors, nurses, public health, counselling, and allied health practitioners that make up the heart and pulse of rural and regional Australia. There is throughout our country – which I know extends to New Zealanders as well – a sense of care and spirit that means many people are searching for some way to help, no matter how small. If you would like more information on how you can assist, please feel free to visit one of these great services, where your contribution would be most gratefully received: https://www.ruralaid.org.au/ https://www.buyabale.com.au/ https://aussiehelpers.org.au/ https://www.droughtangels.org.au/ http://www.needforfeed.org/ Let’s hope for good rain soon, but, in the meantime, let’s hope that our support today is felt by those who need it most.

Beware of Hoax Calls

Best Practice is aware of a medical practice receiving unsolicited contact from an IT technician purporting to represent Bp. Best Practice COO Craig Hodges said it was important that all our software users are aware of our procedures. “It is important to remember that we will never contact our Bp users with a request to log in to their network or PC for an unreported issue”. Said Mr Hodges. “Furthermore, any user logging a support query will receive a unique case number, which any authorised Bp represent will quote in future contact”. “And, as a final check, any user receiving a call from anybody purporting to representing Best Practice Software should validate their identity by contacting our Software Support team”. To contact Bp Support phone 1300 40 1111 in Australia, or 0800 40 1111 in New Zealand (Option1, then Option 1).

Headcoach for Young Men. View from a Doctor’s Desk – Dr Lisa Surman

One of the challenges facing GPs is keeping up to date with programs that can help our patients. One that we have found useful for our young male patients is a new program launched by Headspace, called headcoach, which helps them understand that mental health is just as important to understand as physical health. Headspace has worked with some of Australia’s best athletes to find out what strategies they use to help manage difficult thoughts and feelings.  The strategies are many are varied –meditation, taking a digital detox, listening to music, spending time outdoors and writing things down. Another great resource we have found is a newly launched podcast from ABC called Mindfully, with Sydney Swans legend, Brett Kirk exploring how to use mindfulness in different areas to become calmer and happier. As we all know, alcohol and other drugs may feel like they help in difficult times, but can interfere with your mental health and make you feel worse in the long run. We also know there is a strong link between what we eat and how we feel. A poor diet can increase symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with a healthy diet of wholegrains, fruit, vegetables and nuts. Sleep improves mood, concentration and increases resilience. Reducing the things that interfere with sleep, such as noise, light and social media help improve sleep quality Each of the various strategies have further tips and suggestions for how to achieve the goals and can be useful to refer to when talking to our young male patients:  taking time to do the things they enjoy, strategies to manage difficult thoughts and feelings, reducing alcohol, improving diet, improving sleep quality, staying connected to friends and family and staying active. Another campaign we have found useful is, #YouCanTalk, a suicide prevention campaign aimed at giving people the confidence to respond to friends and family when they need help and guide them to the right support services. The campaign is a powerful union of beyondblue, Black Dog institute, Everymind, headspace, reachOut and R U OK?  #YouCanTalk highlights the resources available to support and access current information, programs, services and research within suicide prevention in Australia. For more details visit headspace.org.au; and lifeinmindaustralia.com.au, the digital gateway that provides organisations and communities with the services and programs.   Dr Lisa Surman, CBD West Medical Centre, Perth, WA Member of Best Practice Software’s Clinical Leadership Advisory Committee “Often patients spend time talking about current medical and social issues, taking valuable time away from dealing with what they have really come in to discuss. One of our solutions is to direct them to news articles on our website written by a doctor in our Practice that outline current issues and offer strategies to manage the problem and links to relevant, reputable websites”.