Responding to rural adversity: a qualitative study of alcohol and other drug service users’ experiences of service response to COVID-19 in Western Australia’s Southwest

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Abstract

Objective: This study reports on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lived experiences of people with substance use problems in accessing services in the Southwest region of Western Australia, and its implications for preparedness in a context of rural adversity. Method: This was a qualitative study informed by the principles of phenomenology. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Twenty-two participants were interviewed. Two main themes were identified: disruption to supportive connections; and bridging the connection gap: local service response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic restrictions exacerbated social isolation and mental health issues, and disrupted services and treatment in the Southwest. Our results demonstrate that local alcohol and other drug services in rural areas can successfully respond to crises by assertively and flexibly adapting their service provision.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Sep 2021

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