16 February 2024

Mental health support extended following Tropical Cyclone Jasper

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Royal Flying Doctor Service aircraft

Mental health clinicians of the Royal Flying Doctor Service are supporting Cape York communities devastated by Tropical Cyclone Jasper. Photo: Supplied.

The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RDFS) Queensland Section is extending its mental health services in Far North Queensland to support communities devastated by Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

Flooded communities lost their homes, animals, belongings and were disconnected from services during a time when connection was most needed.

To assist, RDFS has announced mental health clinicians will provide services across the area, including Cooktown, Rossville and Ayton, to support flood victims and agencies responding to the natural disaster.

RDFS manager far north mental health Jos Middleton said the RDFS was focused on helping impacted Cape York residents overcome trauma from the event.

“We really should be expecting a range of emotions from people right now,” Ms Middleton said.

“It’s completely normal.

“We all process trauma differently; for one individual, it could be the natural disaster itself, and for others, it could be the grief and loss of their belongings.”

The team also noticed a significant feeling of loss in Wujal Wujal after residents were dispersed across the region after their homes were inundated by floodwaters.

The services are being delivered in a variety of ways to meet the needs of each specific community, including mental health consultations, telehealth calls and groups sessions aimed at instilling hope.

Ms Middleton said the team’s primary objective was a focus on offering psychological first aid.

“[We’re] looking at their initial safety, ensuring people are connected, and supporting them to feel empowered again,” she said.

“We want to give people hope and help them rebuild.”

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