Wellness in Tough Times

In December 2020, another group from Australia connected with the WTT team to learn more about the project. The Rural Recovery Support Team (RRST) in Northern New South Wales and Tablelands in Australia learned about the WTT

project from their contact at APEN. The RRST group included case managers working with people and communities affected by the 2019 and 2020 brush fires in Australia. As it did with the APEN group, the WTT met with the RRST teams virtually. The WTT team presented an overview of the project and the resources developed. As a result, the RRST initiated a program called “Tailgate4Mates,” modeled after “Neighbor-to-Neighbor.” They also replicated the “Nebraska Extension Cares” resource cards for their local audiences.

Zoom meeting with WTT and APEN group; photo credit: Susan Harris

“‘Tailgates4Mates’ has been an outstanding success. It has been particularly good for engaging with our male clients and has provided a great opportunity for us to introduce mental health clinicians to the community in a social and non- threatening environment.… Thank you for the inspiration provided by your team.” —Greg Mills, Recovery Officer, Rural Recovery Support Service, Armidale/Ebor Department of Primary Industries

The Australia team shared their updates and how they used the WTT project resources to inspire projects like “Tailgates4Mates” and adapted the “Nebraska Extension Cares” resource cards for their communities. Here are their stories:

Greg Mills Recovery Officer, Rural Recovery Support Service— Armidale/Ebor Department of Primary Industries The 2019–20 bushfire season was the worst New South Wales (NSW) has recorded. Higher than average temperatures and low moisture levels in bushfire fuels following several years of drought enabled devastating fires to burn across much of the state, with intense bushfire weather conditions continuing through most of

the fire season. Over the course of a few months, 26 lives were lost, 2,448 homes were destroyed, and 5.5 million hectares (ha) of land was burnt. The impact on NSW communities, farmers, local businesses, wildlife, and bushland was unprecedented.

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