Rural Alive & Well appointed flood relief worker to help people cope after the 2016 floods

LOOKING AFTER THE COMMUNITY: Rural Alive & Well flood relief worker Jacqui Morris. Picture: Phillip Biggs
LOOKING AFTER THE COMMUNITY: Rural Alive & Well flood relief worker Jacqui Morris. Picture: Phillip Biggs

It might be a year since the floods hit, but ripples are still being felt across the state.

Rural Alive & Well (RAW) started in 2008 after two farmers committed suicide and has since worked to help the Tasmanian community cope in situations affecting mental health, like last year’s floods.

“RAW is really about issues affecting farmers and what they face, but also the rural community,” Ms Little said.

In the aftermath of the floods there was an immediate emergency response to ensure vital infrastructure and services were available, but the impact is still significant for some a year later, chief executive Liz Little said.

“What we’ve seen is the withdrawal of immediate emergency response, but I think that leads to a sense of abandonment. If things are shaky at the time, it could take a while for the impact to sink in,” Ms Little said.

“A year on we’re seeing there’s a lot of energy spent on immediate response and then fixing essential infrastructure, like roads and bridges, and some people are not bouncing back. That’s where RAW comes in,” she said.

RAW appointed flood relief worker Jacqui Morris to help North-West Tasmanian residents who lost their homes, livelihoods and, in some cases, loved ones, in the floods.

Ms Morris’ role was funded through Rotary and public donations.

“That service has come out of the community’s generosity,” Ms Little said.

Ms Morris started in her role four weeks ago and has been speaking with people affected by the floods from her Latrobe base.

“I’ve been working alongside people to assist them with what they need, like as post-traumatic counselling or help in their yard moving soil and rocks,” Ms Morris said.

“Some are better placed and some haven’t been able to move forward as quickly. Everyone’s capability with trauma is different,” she said.

Once Ms Morris understand what is needed she organises support for the RAW client.

“You’ve got to be able to be with these people and accommodate them at whatever stage they’re at,” she said.

Find out more about Rural Alive & Well at www.rawtas.com.au or call 6254 1092.