Depression hits more than 80 per cent of regular ice users, a mental health symposium in Creswick has heard.
Speaking at the Australian Rural and Remote Mental Health Symposium, Associate Professor at Flinders University Nicole Lee said while the use of ice in regional and rural areas was similar to metropolitan areas, people in the country were disadvantaged due to the lack of rehabilitation services.
"Practitioners feel as though they don't know what to do, but we've got really good treatments,” she said. "Even just two sessions of psychological therapy is effective in getting people off meth."
Practitioners feel as though they don't know what to do, but we've got really good treatments. Even just two sessions of psychological therapy is effective in getting people off meth.- Associate Professor Nicole Lee
Twenty five per cent of people using ice more than once a month will also experience psychotic symptoms.
Across 2012/13, ambulance call-outs to methamphetamine related incidents rose 198 per cent in regional Victoria, well above the 88 per cent rise experienced in Melbourne during the same time.
"The issue is more around the service system and whether we can provide good treatment for people who need it."
The symposium is in its seventh year and has resulted in more than 200 medical professionals from around Australia descend on Creswick to discuss mental health issues facing rural areas.
Symposium chairman Dr Russell Roberts said it was critical medical professionals took a different approach when dealing with mental health issues in different environments. "You can't just transpose something that’s been developed in a major metropolitan teaching hospital, with all the resources that it's got, to a regional or rural community."
Dr Roberts said the event provided medical professionals with an opportunity to share and expand on each other’s work. "Instead of someone reinventing the wheel again, someone can take someones learning's, adapt it and then take it the next step.”