Six Gold Coast Mental Health and Specialist Services staff have been deployed to help with the relief efforts in Townsville this week, providing support to anyone experiencing significant stress following the disastrous floods. They join teams from West Moreton Hospital and Health Service, Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service and Metro South Hospital and Health Service.
Mark Ferguson and Jonathan Link will be providing culturally-appropriate mental health support to persons of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin who have been adversely affected by the disaster.
“We’ll be trying to…. build up that trust if they’re feeling a bit unsafe in their current situation, give them that extra education around leaving and getting them into a safe space, and providing that cultural support to transition people wherever we can," said Mark, who is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Senior Hospital Liaison Officer.
"I think it’s a great opportunity to build that partnership between communities, especially in Queensland," Jonathan said, who's an Advanced Health Worker.
Also from Gold Coast Health already in Townsville are: Scott Calvird, Nurse Unit Manager, Lynne Gilligan-Black, Nurse Unit Manager, Tamara Hageman, a psychologist and Stacey Horomia, a social worker.
Scott and Tamara are working in Recovery/Evacuation Centres and are also doing Outreach. Lynne and Stacey are currently supporting the maintenance of existing mental health services in Townsville.
The Recovery/Evacuation Centres are staffed by Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services staff, Lifeline, the Australian Red Cross and other government and non-government personnel and are the first contact point for people who have been affected by the Disaster.