Wellness in Tough Times

low-pressure nature of the engagement has proven very successful and provided an excellent opportunity to introduce new service providers to a locality.

Chloe Hoy Recovery Officer, Rural Recovery Support Service, Walcha Department of Primary Industries Following on from years of relentless drought, the Walcha Local Government Area (LGA) was ravaged by bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020. The outer lying villages of our LGA were severely impacted— with multiple residences lost, primary production enterprises affected, substantial road and infrastructure damage and, sadly, a life taken. This has taken a huge toll on our local community, but it is not until you travel to the outer lying villages that you see the real damage and destruction the fires cause. Not just physically, with the remnants of a disastrous event still visible, but to those who still inhabit the area and face the scars and memories daily.

Through the support of Greg Mills and our HNEH bushfire clinicians Daiva Newby and Julie Ward, “Tailgates4Mates” (T4M) has been developed. T4M is a program that encourages quite literally what the name suggests: mates sitting on their tailgates, pulling up, having a yarn, and providing support and making sure each other is okay. It is also a way to start planting the seed that our services are not going to be available forever, and ensure that the people in these rural, isolated communities have the knowledge and the confidence to actually ask, “Are you okay?” and should the answer be “No,” how to support their mate, neighbour, or even family member through a tough

Tailgates4Mates in the News Northern Daily Leader

Northern Daily Leader

Macleay Argus




time and familiarise themselves with the services available to assist.

Mental health recovery is still a pressing issue throughout the Walcha LGA, and T4M is an informal way to normalise accessing mental health services in bushfire-impacted areas through rapid low- intensity client interactions. Greg, Julie, and Daiva have also developed a wallet card to keep handy, in the event they need or someone they know needs support. The feedback we have received has been phenomenal and the positivity and eagerness towards holding a T4M out there again is impressive.


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