Authors: Heidi Keevers, Gary Shallala-Hudson, Fay Jackson, Amarina Donohoe-Bales, Marlee Bower, Scarlett Smout, Maree Teesson, Wendy Ayzit, Marie Piu
Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference
Subject: covid, research, natural disaster, climate change
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: LEAD PRESENTATION: As Clear as Flood Mud: Stories from the Northern NSW Floods
Heidi Keevers, Gary Shallala-Hudson, Fay Jackson
At 2.30 am on 28th February 2022 Northern NSW experienced unprecedented flooding. Our lives and service landscape changed overnight. Within a month we experienced two more major floods.
We awoke to torrential rain. Lists of people needing urgent rescue grew as rapidly as the water. Then all communication was lost, roads undrivable, electricity cut, no fuel, no money. Towns north of Lismore flooded first. Then Lismore, Coraki, Woodburn and Broadwater. The levee banks broke. Everyone was engulfed by darkness, water and terror. Hundreds of people at risk of drowning. Homes, workplaces and vehicles destroyed. Lives, livelihoods and animals were lost. Mass trauma filled our communities.
From the lived experience perspective we reflect on our communities’ experience of mental health and service provision during a natural disaster and recovery.
We will share the floods impact on peoples lives and mental health. The complex navigation challenges in a disrupted service landscape. Initiatives that have provided innovative solutions and supportive professional, community and self-care practices. We highlight the importance of holistic integrated approaches based in addressing the social determinants, lived experience perspectives and community led initiatives.
Everyone in our community has a flood story. We are all peers here.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Risk and protective factors for young adult mental health during COVID-19: A longitudinal Australian study
Amarina Donohoe-Bales, Marlee Bower, Scarlett Smout, Maree Teesson
Emerging evidence indicates that COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the mental health of young people. Less is understood about the potential risk and protective factors that precipitate young adult mental health in the context of the pandemic. This presentation aims to fill this knowledge gap by drawing on findings from The Alone Together Study; a national longitudinal survey investigating the mental health impacts of COVID-19 amongst a sample of Australian adults, including 768 young adults aged 18-34 years (M=29 years). Baseline online assessments of anxiety and depression symptoms were conducted in 2020 during COVID-19 restrictions and at 6- and 12-months post-baseline, in addition to longitudinal measures of COVID-related social and economic changes, modifiable health behaviours and resilience. After covarying for demographics, preliminary hierarchical linear modelling revealed that adverse changes to sleep, diet, socialising and screentime during COVID-19, as well as socio-economic stressors, significantly contributed to depression and anxiety symptoms. In contrast, increased levels of resilience and physical activity had a protective effect on youth mental health outcomes. Healthcare practitioners and policy-makers should target and address these key determinants to meet the complex needs of vulnerable young people and drive integrated solutions and improvements in mental health, during and beyond the pandemic.
PANEL PRESENTATION: Snakes and Ladders, system navigation during Covid-19 for family, carers and supporters in mental health.
Wendy Ayzit, Marie Piu
This presentation will use qualitative and quantitative data collected during 2021 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, to describe what Victorian family, carers and supporters in mental health who called Tandem's Support and Referral service were experiencing and the range of supports required during this time. We will outline both the presenting issues and how we worked to address these at an individual and systemic level. The data collected highlights that tailored support and advocacy was essential to navigate the complexity of a broken mental health system further comprised by a punishing NDIS system and confusing and generic carer services system. This presentation will demonstrate Tandem's agility in delivering services through innovation and how a new partnership formed with the Carer Gateway through it's lead agency in Victoria, Merri Health, delivered tailored supports and brokerage to over 350 families, carers and supporters in mental health.
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