Red Cross to offer Psychological First Aid in TGHN

Red Cross Evacuation Centre volunteers Karen Markham, Jenny Kelly, and Narelle Murray.

EMERGENCY services cover a wide range of physical and mental hardships, and the Red Cross Emergency Services’ Psychological First Aid is no small part of the support offered.

Perhaps a lesser-known aspect of the global charity’s services, Psychological First Aid helps people deal emotionally and psychologically in times of crisis and need, and is a highly rewarding way to volunteer for community and society.

The Red Cross Emergency Services division offers help and human contact, because after the Queensland floods, or the NSW fires, those affected needed much more than dry land and houses rebuilt, and during the COVID pandemic, many needed someone to check on their welfare.

“When Varroa forced the eradication of much-loved and prized bee hives, the bee-keepers needed someone to help them deal with a silent, personal loss,” local Red Cross volunteer Joanne Pearce told NOTA.

“Preparedness programs are also offered, such as the Pillowcase Project for primary children, to help them prepare a grab-bag for evacuation, as well as practicing strategies for managing emotions and staying calm.”

“Redi-plan workshops are also designed as all-hazards planning, to assist people to prepare for and reduce the personal disruption caused by emergencies,” Ms Pearce added to the list of training and preparations by which locals can better brave the next disaster.

Local Red Cross and other community group representatives are also engaged in outlining a plan for ‘community resilience’, to ensure that everyone is contactable and knows their safe routes when things go awry.

“It is an award-winning initiative to help small community groups build connections, identify preparation needs and create a phone-tree to stay informed and ensure everyone is safe,” Ms Pearce explained.

Psychological First Aid Courses are coming up in Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens on 24 June, for anyone interested in volunteering with Red Cross Emergency Services, with later courses in the Hunter Region and online.

Contact Joanne Pearce on 0474 222 214 or for more information.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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