Community preparedness - information for service providers
Community preparedness aims to assist communities to withstand a crisis event, minimise the mental health impacts and support community recovery.
Key factors in supporting community preparedness from a mental health perspective
- knowing the potential risks and likelihood of disasters occurring in the area, what types of disasters might occur, who is likely to be affected, and the potential mental health impacts
- Understanding the communities capacity for managing the mental health impacts of disasters, including knowledge of existing resources and how to access them
- Awareness of the learnings and recommendations from disasters that have occurred recently or in the past.
- Collaborative partnerships between SA Health and other government departments, Emergency Services, Primary Health Networks, Local Council, Australian Red Cross and other non-government organisations
- Awareness of policies and frameworks that relate to disaster preparedness, response and recovery arrangements, including clearly defined roles and functions for different agencies involved in disaster management.
- Engaging with the local community to understand the capacity for managing the mental health impacts of disasters, available resources and identifying needs from the communities perspective.
Understand how the community is most likely to access information and resources
- Ensure that health services and communities have access to mental health information and strategies for disseminating this information before, during and after disasters occur
- Find out if the community are accessing information and supports that are currently available, and if not, why not?
- Understand the communities knowledge of the mental health impacts of disasters, emotional preparedness strategies, early warning signs, emotional recovery and supports that are available
- Identify strategies for increasing mental health literacy and awareness and ensuring that mental health is included in all aspects of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
- Have an awareness of individuals or groups that may be more at risk if a disaster occurs in the local area
- Ensure that information and resources are relevant and accessible for individuals and communities who may be more at risk including: young people, older people, Aboriginal communities, people with existing mental health or physical health conditions, people with a disability, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with recent/previous experience of disasters or other traumas.
Knowledge of current action plans relevant to individual agencies in the community and how these align as part of an over-arching plan to assist the community in being more prepared and responding and recovering more quickly.
- Resilient Community Organisations Benchmarking Toolkit (ACOSS). (Toolkit developed by and for the community sector to help organisations measure and improve their resilience to disasters and emergencies).