Abstract: People living in rural and remote areas have been found to suffer higher rates of mental illness and psychological distress than their urban counterparts. However, rural and remote Australians also suffer from a lack of specialist mental health services. Mental health consumers are concerned about the lack of access to specialist mental health care and report poor service quality and stigmatizing staff attitudes when presenting with mental health emergencies at acute care facilities. Standards for the Mental Health Workforce released in 2002 promote respect for the individual, their family and carers; best practice in the assessment, early detection and management of acute illness; promotion of mental health and safety; and the prevention of relapse. These standards are for generalists providing care to mentally ill patients; their family and carers in the acute care setting; as well as specialist mental health professionals. Up-skilling generalists in rural and remote areas to respectfully and effectively manage mental health emergency care is a priority.