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Kate Hoppe/Manager, Marketing, Communications & Strategic Projects
2 mins read·December 14th, 2011

Rural Western Australian network meets to discuss complex trauma

When your network covers an area the size of Germany, anything that cuts distance, time and cost from your training budget comes as a bonus. According to Julee Nelson, Executive Officer/Coordinator of the Carnarvon MHPN, using October’s MHPN Complex Trauma webinar to bring far-flung clinicians together worked well.

With the Complex Trauma webinar, the network thought it would try something different and the response was ‘really quite overwhelming’ with 13 participants.

Julee said the participants found the webinar engaging and different. They particularly liked the Q&A format and being able to enter their questions.

‘Because you’re remote, you don’t have access to a lot of training unless you’ve got travel and then you’re stretching your budget as an NGO as well. So by having these things here we thought it would go off quite well and we’re pleased with the result.’

Travelling substantial distances in outreach roles, planning was critical for clinicians and Julee thinks that maintaining events such as network meetings and webinars would win continuing support.

‘We’re finding in small communities that [if] you do something, don’t drop it. Keep it going and people keep attending. If you have these one off things and then you want to do another one, people don’t tend to attend.

‘Whereas when we repeat them with different studies or different facilitators, you’re engaging the same people. With the Carnarvon Medical Centre, they sent over three doctors and two students because the students were in town and they thought that would benefit them,’ she said.

The network services a population of about 7,000 over roughly 350,000 square kilometres, or a patch of real estate roughly the size of Germany.

The group has a conventional blend of psychiatrists, psychologists, GPs, mental health nurses and social workers. But it’s also opened network meetings to the public, with an unexpectedly broad response.

Visitors have included:

  • community service development workers from the shire of Carnarvon
  • clerical workers from the local hospital
  • the local drug and alcohol team
  • a lecturer from the local TAFE
  • a perinatal and mental health worker
  • visiting medical students
  • a lawyer and a paralegal from the Geraldton Resource Centre
  • a senior support worker from the Gascoyne Women’s Refuge
  • an advocate from Ethnic Disabilities Support Service.

The network has met six times since its initial meeting in late 2009.

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