Mental health services are harder to access in rural and remote areas, but residents in Holbrook and Walla Walla now have a qualified psychologist on their doorstep.
Registered psychologist Lauren Barrett relocated from Sydney to a Lankey's Creek property with her husband in October last year.
About a month ago, she set up her business Regenerative Psychology for individuals aged 16 and above operating from the VECARE health rooms every third Friday in Walla and every other Friday in Holbrook.
Mrs Barrett said the business name was a play on regenerative agriculture.
"[It's] the idea of rebuilding things that have been damaged over the past and bringing that into a positive state and making it better for the future," she said.
Mrs Barrett said her clients so far had reacted positively to having the face to face service available locally.
"There's a lot of resistance to telehealth because it's not as personable for a lot of people," she said.
"So having someone who can come on site has been really helpful for most people, and that's a big piece of feedback that we're getting.
"Just having access to a service at all is really amazing for them."
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Mrs Barrett said she has primarily worked with clients on workers compensation and disability support until now, but she was enjoying the broad range of reasons people were accessing her services and their motivation to improve their health.
"Everybody is very different out here, everyone is very unique in their needs," she said.
"It means I need to pivot a lot in terms of how I approach people to meet peoples individual needs.
"I'm not originally from around here, so there is still that gap there, but it also really challenges me to meet them halfway and really seek to understand that instead of making the assumptions.
"I also obviously come in with no knowledge of who anyone is, which is helpful, because locals all know each other, so I'm coming in, building that community and helping to work with people on their own terms."
Mrs Barrett said issues from bushfires or COVID-19 hadn't been a theme across her sessions so far.
"We do have an older population so dealing with ageing and grief issues is quite significant, but across the board it's very, very different for everyone," she said.
Mrs Barrett has also welcomed the "massive" change in her personal lifestyle.
"We've been living in Sydney for five years or so and we'd always wanted to move out to the country, so when COVI hit and all of our work went remote, we jumped at the opportunity to get out here," she said.
"We're out on 100 acres, 100 per cent off grid, living a completely different lifestyle and just trying to get that open and outdoorsy life that we just didn't have in our tiny little concrete apartment."
Mrs Barrett said her new home in the Riverina had helped her slow down and live more in the moment.
"The funny thing is we're 30 k's out of town and it was still faster to get here than it was to get to our shopping centre in Sydney, so that's always good," she said.
"Our lifestyle has significantly changed, forget Uber eats."
Mrs Barrett still works remotely for a Sydney company four days a week, but has plans to expand her business locally if demand increases.
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