This week marks six months since the Northern Rivers was devastated by Cyclone Debbie and the floods, and the recovery process is still continuing.
On Wednesday (September 27) the University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) launched a major survey to find out the impact of this natural disaster on community wellbeing.
Speaking at the launch at the Lismore Quadrangle, UCRH’s professor of mental health and psychological wellbeing, James Bennett-Levy, said we have seen ‘a lot of distress and amazing resilience over these last months.’
‘All of us across the Northern Rivers have been affected in some way. This survey is about finding out how we are doing. Are we OK?’
‘Just as it’s important for business to document the impact of floods on their livelihoods, so it is important to get a snapshot of the mental health and wellbeing of our communities for future planning and to advocate for resources,’ Professor Bennet-Levy said.
UCRH director Ross Bailie said the health priorities of the region are the core business of the UCRH.
‘We’re working in partnership with a large range of community and business organisations, local and state government agencies to ensure this research is relevant to the needs of the community.’
‘This is an opportunity to turn our flood stories into the evidence we need, to help policy makers understand where the gaps in services are, and what works best for community recovery,’ Professor Bailie said.
This survey is for everyone 16 years and over, whether your home, business or property was flooded or not, across the Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Kyogle local government areas.
The survey is available online and paper surveys are available at libraries, Lifeline, Red Cross, Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul stores or by calling UCRH on 6620 7570.