As you may know, I am a member of the Reference Group that established the Phoenix Australia Disaster Mental Health Hub, an important resource that has been created to support communities impacted by disaster by providing high-quality resources and insights into the latest research to support health professionals and frontline workers, their practices, patients and communities. The Hub resources are available at no cost as they are supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Disaster Response – Improving Mental Health Outcomes and Promoting Recovery from Trauma Program.
In support of The Hub’s recent launch, the team has created a webinar series called Leading the Way… to introduce the resources available and undertake a deep dive into some of the critical issues associated with mental health support for those impacted by disaster. The previous four webinars in the series have explored the impacts and implications of multiple disasters on communities, trauma-informed care in health services and the important role of general practice and community health organisations in disaster-affected areas in broader emergency responses, the phenomenon and prevalence of trauma-related anger after disaster, and the importance of social connectedness in the wake of disasters such as the ongoing flooding in Queensland and parts of New South Wales.
The next webinar in the series, Supporting children and adolescents after disaster, will take place on Wednesday 22 June from 3pm – 4pm (AEST). It will explore how to support children and adolescents after disaster, the psychosocial impacts experienced by school-aged children and adolescents, and the implications of those impacts at different phases of recovery and at different developmental stages.
The webinar will be moderated by Phoenix Australia’s Professor Patricia Watson, an international expert in disaster mental health who co-developed the principles of post-disaster psychosocial care that remain the foundation of disaster recovery efforts across the globe. Phoenix Australia’s Head of Clinical Services, Jane Nursey, a clinical neuropsychologist with extensive experience in supporting children and adolescents after disaster, will deliver a presentation of the latest findings into psychosocial impacts of disaster on young people over the short and long term, and what these can look like in different stages of a child’s development.
Following the presentation, they will be joined for a panel discussion by Janette Cook, former Principal of Middle Kinglake Primary School, who led the school community throughout the destruction of the school during the Black Saturday fires and its subsequent rebuild, and Robyn Mansfield, an expert in international humanitarian settlement design, livelihoods, and children’s participation following disaster.
The Department of Health recognised that during disaster, healthcare workers and others needed ready access to information and a range of resources that would support their work with disaster-impacted individuals and communities. In addition, the availability of more in-depth training means that workers can prepare themselves for subsequent disaster work during calmer times.
You can give feedback about the Disaster Mental Health Hub by following this link and completing the anonymous, online survey.
Access to all materials and training on the Disaster Mental Health Hub is free of charge.
The Hub is designed for workers who are supporting disaster-impacted individuals and communities. This may include GPs, specialist mental health practitioners, allied health practitioners, emergency responders, and community and recovery workers.
To access the free online training programs, simply click on the ‘Register now’ link on the training courses page.
If you’re having trouble downloading or accessing any of the resources on the Hub, please try a different browser to access the resource. If this still doesn’t work, please try restarting your computer. If you’re still having issues, you can contact Phoenix Australia here.
The Disaster Mental Health Hub has been developed by experts in the area of disaster mental health.
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