“It’s still something that’s discussed, it’s still something that crops up every now and again, we still see people breaking down, we’re still taking them through that journey.”

Dr Leonie Fromberg - Cloncurry GP

Building the strength and capacity of rural and remote communities to cope with disasters will be a focus of a Summit to be held in North West Queensland, as the region continues to endure the ongoing drought and the long term impacts of last year’s devastating flood event.

The North West Flood Recovery and Resilience Summit in Julia Creek (30/11/20) will examine the level of coordination and collaboration of primary mental health care and allied support services in the region, in readiness for future disasters.

“One of the key themes that emerged from the last Summit, and from the work that’s been done since, is the recognition of the value of local relationships and local networks to help inform how best to configure mental health services on the ground,”  Western Queensland Primary Health Network (WQPHN) CEO Stuart Gordon said.

“So whilst the Summit will provide an opportunity one year on to look back, we also need to take the opportunity to consider our preparedness, and examine ways to strengthen those relationships and formalise the networks, so that they can be activated quickly and efficiently when similar events occur in the future.”

The Summit will consider how mental health services can integrate with pre-existing, broader disaster management plans, so that mental health support services can be mobilised quickly and collaboratively, driven by locals already on the ground in the affected regions.

“We need to learn from what we have all experienced to guide our preparedness, our mental health response in times of disaster, and what additional supports need to remain in place to help recovery and build capacity after the event,” Mr Gordon said.

The Summit is being jointly organised by the Western Alliance for Mental Health (WAMH), comprising the North Queensland and Western Queensland Primary Health Networks, the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency and the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland Section).

The full media release can be found here.

Media Liaison:

Paul Stone (WQPHN)  M: 0414 326 848  E: paul@sticksandstonespr.com.au  

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