Disaster mental health resources launched

Tuesday 27 November 2018

South Australians facing the aftermath of a natural disaster or a major incident will now have access to improved online mental health resources thanks to an initiative launched by the Chief Psychiatrist of South Australia. 

Chief Psychiatrist, Dr John Brayley, said the Disasters and Mental Health Support online resource will help communities – particularly those in rural and regional areas – recover from major adverse events including natural disasters. 

“It’s very common to experience stress and grief after a disaster and there are some people who need additional support to help get their lives back on track,” Dr Brayley said. 

“Disasters can have an immediate impact on mental health but it may not be until later that people start noticing changes in the way they, or others around them, are thinking or feeling.

“When offering support to those around you in the community, it’s important to look after yourself too and the information available is designed to help people take care of their own emotional wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of others.” 

Chief Medical Officer and Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Paddy Phillips, said there can be many health consequences during natural disasters and the resource offers helpful advice and information. 

“Communities across the state face the devastating effects of disasters such as bushfires, floods, drought, storms, pandemics and community violence and we have a responsibility to support people as best we can,” Professor Phillips said. 

“This is a one-stop shop for natural disasters information with important public health resources, as well as mental health resources, contact information, and other useful supports.”

Country SA PHN Chief Executive Officer, Kim Hosking, said the PHNs collaborated with SA Health to ensure the resources are relevant and beneficial as well as being available for all those involved in a major adverse event. 

“Whether you are a community member, first responder, parent, volunteer, local business owner, or visitor, it’s important to remember everyone plays a role in supporting recovery following a disaster,” Mr Hosking said. 

The online resources include a booklet and fact sheets to help communities prepare for disasters and to support mental health recovery after a disaster. 

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