Across the country, disasters affect individuals, communities, and the capacity of the Extension system to provide resources supporting disaster recovery and promoting resilience. These incidents and threats affect livelihoods, well-being, and the prosperity of communities—places we live, work, and volunteer. Furthermore, since these incidents and threats are complex and multifaceted, they affect many areas of our lives: healthy lifestyles, child development, families, businesses, agricultural systems, and local economies. WTT Connection Extension Chat (May 19, 2021)
”Exploring Extension’s Role in Disaster Response and Mental Health & Wellness” In this chat, we explored Extension’s role in facilitating conversations around mental health and wellness. We also discussed the challenges faced and the lessons learned by Extension professionals working with communities impacted by disaster.
Compounding disaster-related stress with other variables like economic security and COVID-19 isolation leads to a need for mental health services. We are mindful that just as disasters are local, every community’s needs are unique so we cannot use a cookie- cutter approach to each
WTT Connection Extension Chat Blog Post
community’s conversation about mental health and wellness. Instead, we serve as facilitators and providers of education and resources to support the communities as they take their own lead to support the resiliency of their residents. Lessons Learned The most difficult part of hosting the Connect Extension Chat was writing questions that were open-ended enough to start a conversation. The drafts initially had many “yes or no” questions that later had to be changed so people would respond with more detailed information, personal stories, and opinions about the project.
Once our team learned more about Connect Extension Chat and went through a live session ourselves, we enjoyed the experience and would do it again!
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