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Bushfire Recovery Social, Health and Wellbeing. Australian Psychological Society 14 February 2013 Carole Owen State Operations Manager Bushfire Recovery DHHS. Social Recovery. Lessons from the Victorian experience – “Community Led”

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bushfire recovery social health and wellbeing

Bushfire RecoverySocial, Health and Wellbeing

Australian Psychological Society

14 February 2013

Carole Owen

State Operations Manager Bushfire Recovery DHHS

social recovery
Social Recovery
  • Lessons from the Victorian experience – “Community Led”
  • Organised Rob Gordon, Clinical Psychologist – in what to expect.
  • 1st level: responding to immediate needs:
    • Accommodation, food, clothing, financial assistance
  • 2nd level: reachingout / ‘being there’
    • Registration, information, personal support, referral
  • 3rd level: providinglonger term assistance:
    • Specialist support, counselling
  • Outreach Program – co-ordinated by Red Cross
  • Leadership for all of the above, provided by experienced team of Community Health Social Workers.
  • Use existing service providers, known to the community.
red cross social work outreach
Red Cross + Social Work - Outreach
  • active referrals and follow up
  • Present at Australia Day long weekend celebrations
our approach
Our Approach
  • Must be community led.
  • Recognise needs will change over time.
  • Utilise the specialist expertise of existing Community Health Social Workers.
  • Already been told – “too many people knocking on our doors, give us some space”. This might signal a shift from ‘appreciation to frustration / annoyance’
  • Sensitive to this – may not be everyone – may be a vocal few.
  • Who is not participating?
  • Be mindful of particular groups – aged, isolated, living alone, pre-existing health concerns, those whose properties are ok.
  • Have a presence, build trust, be flexible and responsive.
current focus
Current Focus
  • Stopped outreach activity for now.
  • Social workers are following up on referrals.
  • Ongoing presence at service hubs:
    • Nubeena/MPC, Murdunna, Dunalley, Sorell
    • Providing information, personal support and referral
  • Support local community reps and local community groups
    • Graham Millar – Murdunna , Caroline Bigwell – Boomers Bay
    • Fiona Jennings – Dunalley, Yve Earnshaw - Neighbourhood House
    • Back to School, working with Education support staff (social workers and psychologists)
    • Community development activities as they emerge – e.g. garden restoration
    • Local BBQs
  • Strengthen the existing service provider network – use this to identify emerging needs and co-ordinate services.
  • Information session with NGO’s Friday 1 February
current focus con t
Current Focus con’t
  • Developing referral pathways to secondary and specialist services - MH, Drug and Alcohol, Domestic Violence, Lifeline
  • Aware of those who are not on the Peninsula:
    • Who have we missed?
    • People staying with friends / family / new rental?
    • Tourists / visitors who were traumatised?
  • Revisiting other affected areas – Derwent Valley, Bicheno
  • Implement information system for planning and reporting – “Major Incident Support System (MISS)”
  • Assist with the co-ordination of volunteers, St Vincent de Paul distribution of donated goods. 350 pallets – just in the South!
  • 2nd Visit Rob Gordon
    • General Information session, and front line workers
social recovery plan under development
Social Recovery Plan –under development

Objective 1

Local communities lead their own recovery from the impact of the bushfires.

Objective 2

Health and personal support services are available.

Objective 3

The community is strengthened by the recovery process.

Objective 4

The social recovery plan is linked with other recovery plans for the affected communities.

Objective 5

Reporting and evaluation

where are we at
Where are we at?
  • “Emergency Mode” persists till threat is reduced, life stabilises, immediate problems are solved. 2-6 months
  • “Endurance Mode” till stress subsides, plans are made, routines established, reserves are replenished. 9-18 months
  • Signs of Stress:
    • Become active, focussed, self-sufficient, impatient, grim, intolerant
    • Reduced reasoning, struggle to make strategic decisions, prioritise, make long term gaols, lateral thinking,
    • Emotional life is raw, intense, giving out a lot or just coping rather than feeling enriched or satisfied, needs are greater than supplies
    • Social life simplified, neglected, reduced empathy, intolerance, intense involvement because of how feeling
    • Loss of self reflection, experiences not “owned”
  • Amazing strength, support and resilience