Mental health training has taken place in a remote north Queensland community where people are still grappling with the impact of Cyclone Yasi and the month-long ban on live exports.
Frontier Services coordinated the two-day workshop “Mental Health First Aid” in Greenvale, 200km from Charters Towers from 14-15 September.
Participants included Greenvale community members, service providers, police officers, caravan park staff and those who live on properties within the Charters Towers Regional Council, the Croydon Shire and the Etheridge Shire, some travelling as far as 300km.
Frontier Services Dalrymple Rural Family Support Service Coordinator Jeanie Brook said many in the region were coming to grips with the effects of the cyclone when they were hit by the ban on live exports in June.
“The devastation of the cyclone impacted on many people in this area. Six months down the track, as people were hanging on and just starting to lift their heads up – boom – the export issue came along,” she said.
The month-long suspension on live exports not only impacted graziers but the whole community. “It is not only the cattle industry, but the wider community, small business people, cattle truck drivers and grocery deliverers,” said Ms Brook.
“People who normally keep their head above it only need a catastrophe like this to break that resilience.”
Anna Burley from Frontier Services Savannah Regional Health Service, said mental health was identified by the community as an emerging issue as families worked through the personal and financial effects of these events.
The training, conducted by Charters Towers Community Mental Health, taught the participants the ‘First Aid’ skills needed in a mental health crisis and how they could respond to the early stages of mental health problems.
“This training is vital for these remote communities that have very limited access to services,” Ms Burley said.
Frontier Services has provided support at the front line of the remote communities affected by both the cyclone and export issue.
Four services were present at the training; Dalrymple Rural Family Support Service, Savannah Regional Health Service, Flinders Patrol Ministry and North Queensland Remote Area Families Service (RAFS). RAFS provided a playgroup for children who came along.
Ms Brook said the training was a way of bringing people together from the Greenvale community and also the outlying properties.
“It was a great opportunity for people to come together and to work together for a common cause,” she said.