New growth in the face of trauma was the focus of a free bushfire recovery workshop held at the Tenterfield Golf Club last week.
Hosted by HealthWISE thanks to funding from the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (HNECC PHN), the Regrowth workshop brought community members and service providers together to share their stories and learn how the mind and body is affected by disasters.
"I've come up here to Tenterfield today to talk about how important it is to tell your story - the power of storytelling, and how important it is to reach out for some help," Farm Gate Support Program counsellor Lucy Gallagher said.
As a sheep and cattle farmer from Tamworth, Lucy remembered years of battling with drought.
Scott Wood from HNECC PHN acknowledged that rural communities had endured many hardships in recent years.
"Prior to the bushfires, there was droughts, and then there was flooding also, and of course with COVID-19; so it's been disaster after disaster. It's quite easy for bushfires to be put on the back burner with all that's been going on, but the effect that it had on the communities back then, and even now, is real," he said.
He said the workshops were about building community resilience by upskilling both service providers and community leaders.
The event focused on working through the mental and emotional fallout of the 2019 bushfires, and learning how to prepare for unexpected disasters.
Speakers talked about financial hardship and managing anxiety and stress.
Support workers, service providers and Lifeline services were available to give support on the day, and HealthWISE nurses gave free health checks.
Participants were invited to take part in a collective art project, decorating puzzle pieces as part of the theme 'putting the pieces back together'.
The Tenterfield event was part of a series of bushfire recovery workshops being held in the region.
The next Regrowth workshop will be held in Inverell on March 23. Visit www.healthwise.org.au to learn more.
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