Webinar Series Examines Community Recovery After Cumulative Disaster

The mental health impact of one disaster after another – and how to recognise and deal with it – are the subjects of a two-part webinar series starting next week.

The series, Recovery in the Community, will run in Northern NSW on 17 November and 24 November from 6.30pm – 8.20pm. On the Mid North Coast, the series will run on 18 November and 25 November from 6.30pm – 8.20pm.

GPs, practice nurses, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers and Aboriginal health workers are all invited to attend.

Part one of the series deals with ‘Meeting Mental Health Needs’, while part two looks at ‘Recognising Stacked Distress’.

One of the headline speakers is Professor Ian Hickie, psychiatrist and Co-Director of Health and Policy at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre.

‘At the moment people are COVID preoccupied and for much of the country the economic and social impacts of COVID have consumed all concerned,” says Prof Hickie.

He says that before COVID-19, stress-inducing issues already existed in many areas, such as drought, then bushfires, then flooding. Not to mention ‘economic dislocation and pressures on young people’.

“This is a series of events that will bring a lot of people into care who haven’t otherwise been to care,” says Prof Hickie.

“There’s a danger that the cumulative nature of that, and the pressure it puts on communities and health systems, gets lost in a kind of ‘one size fits all’ approach to the current situation.”

He says health practitioners need to be aware of the risk that apparently small issues troubling patients may be trivialised, without recognising they could be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’.

“The collective approach that is being encouraged on the North Coast is extremely welcome,” says Prof Hickie.

“It’s very important that health care providers take it seriously and that people who are feeling at the end of things do come forward and get really good care when they present, even though the system is under pressure.”

Takeaways from the webinars will include learning the hidden signs to watch out for when patients need additional mental health support; who is most as risk; and building connections to address layers of distress.

Register for Northern NSW:

Can’t make the live sessions? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the webinar recordings.

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Register for Mid North Coast:

Can’t make the live sessions? Register anyway and we’ll send you a link to the webinar recordings.

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