More than $10 million has been allocated to mental health support as part of the federal drought assistance package, but details are still sketchy about what services will be provided.
Charles Sturt University lecturer in sociology, Dr Merrilyn Crichton, says previous mental health programs for rural patients have been at best mixed and often badly targeted.
She says Australia does not have a good record in helping rural communities who are stressed and struggling during severe crises.
"One of the scary things that happened in the last drought was that the mental health services were provided way too late.
"And we know, the research has told us for years now that at the beginning of a crisis people will come together, pull together and they'll cope.
"But then, after a little while, nobody's really coping."
© ABC 2014
15:40 EDT Western New South Wales has begun a heat wave and it is likely to become record-breaking in the far west where maximum temperatures should average as much as 40 degrees over seven days.