With anniversaries of disasters coming up, psychological recovery remains a focus
Published on 05 August, 2011
Pretty soon we'll be hearing about anniversaries of the terrible floods, cyclones, bush fires and earthquakes that have occurred in Australia and New Zealand.
This will be a timely opportunity for people like Professor Kevin Ronan to evaluate if the psychological recovery projects established in the wake of physical disasters have been worthwhile.
There is also the chance currently to prepare for the next spate of disasters, even if everyone hopes they will be a long time coming.
CQUniversity's head of a new Master of Clinical Psychology Program, Professor Ronan was in New Zealand last December, delivering a disaster recovery workshop in collaboration with the Joint Centre for Disaster Research at Massey University for the Ministries heavily involved in recovery from the September earthquakes, not knowing at the time that even worse earthquakes were coming.
He's been involved in the recovery efforts following the Queensland floods and cyclones and recently did some 'train the trainer' sessions for practitioners in affected areas who are now back rolling out a Skills for Psychological Recovery package for those impacted by floods and the cyclone.
Professor Ronan has been working alongside government and community stakeholders in his capacity as Chair of the Australian Psychological Society's Disaster Reference Group.
"Train the trainers was done by us at APS in partnership with colleagues from the Australian Centre for Post-traumatic Mental Health, who are the holders of the SPR training package," he says.
Professor Ronan is gaining renown for his work. He was the opening speaker for the National Summit for Youth Preparedness held in Washington DC late last year, and he's working on disaster-related research in conjunction with the Australian Red Cross and the NZ Joint Centre for Disaster Research.
The in-demand academic has been asked to provide evidence to a Senate subcommittee investigating the capacity of communication networks and emergency warning systems to deal with emergencies and natural disasters.
He has also been invited by the University of Western Australia to provide both a seminar and master class in preparing and recovering from disasters, hosted by UWA School of Psychology in partnership with the Bushfire Corporate Research Centre and the Fire & Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia.
Later in the year, he will be providing a keynote address and master class on preparedness, response and recovery to local groups of APS psychologists in Queensland, another invited address at James Cook University and a workshop at a disaster conference in Brisbane.