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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

Key factors in supporting community mental health

  • 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.

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