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Minister launches psychosocial support web portal



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THE HON MARK BUTLER MP Minister for Mental Health and Ageing

MEDIA RELEASE

13 October 2010

MINISTER LAUNCHES PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT WEB PORTAL

Minister for Mental Health and Ageing Mark Butler launched a new web portal designed to assist health professionals to provide psychosocial support in disasters, in Sydney last night.

The web portal will assist in the areas of preparation, support, and recovery for individuals and communities affected by disaster, like the Black Saturday bushfires.

“On that tragic day, 173 Australians lost their lives, and many more were affected by post-traumatic stress disorder and other psychological disorders,” Mr Butler said.

“We know that the ongoing emotional effects of disaster experience can include anxiety, distress, insomnia, depression and a range of other conditions detrimental to positive mental health.

“One of our highest priorities, as a Government and as a community, is to protect people’s mental health and psychosocial wellbeing.”

The Psychosocial Support in Disasters web portal will act as a central access point to vital information, helping those in disaster-prone areas to prepare psychologically, providing practical support during the emergency, and providing social, emotional

and psychological support during the recovery period.

“As Australia heads into the bushfire season, the launch of the Psychosocial Support in Disasters web portal is both relevant and timely,” Mr Butler said.

The web portal is a joint initiative of the Australian Psychological Society, the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Occupational Therapy Australia, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and General Practice Victoria.

For more information, please contact the Minister’s Office on 02 6277 7280