S2 Episode 5

in Conversation Dr Caroline Alcorso

Doctor Caroline Alcorso is currently directing the Natural Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework for the National Mental Health Commission.

She has an extensive background in social policy, programs and research in both community sector organisations and government. Along with her substantial academic background, Caroline is a leader and innovator in a range of social policy areas, including health, gender equity, workforce development, workplace relations and multicultural affairs.

The Natural Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework is funded by the Australian Government in a bid to address the increasingly complex mental health needs of individuals and communities affected by natural disasters.

The Framework, which will be released in June 2021, aims to improve cross-government responses to mental health threats before, during and after natural disasters.

In this episode, Scotia and Caroline discuss:

  • How the Natural Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework came about and what the approach has been so far for engaging individuals and organisations in the research process
  • The importance of supporting continuity in community recovery efforts in order to develop skills, personnel and ongoing knowledge-building at a local level to better respond to natural disasters over time
  • Challenges identified around the help-seeking process and the importance of addressing the mental health impacts of the aftermath of disaster
  • How the response to our new reality of cascading impacts is being approached at a national level and how it incorporates the presence of non-traditional modes of response
  • The importance of co-collaboration and how local funding programs are being successfully utilised to build community capital to help communities rebuild

References and further reading:

National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework

‘Brain research shows the arts promote mental health’, The Conversation

National Arts and Health Framework 

Red Cross Australia, Looking After Yourself and Your Family After a Disaster

Phoenix Australia, Disaster Mental Health Hub

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