Blackall Show health presence

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The Central West Hospital and Health Service partnered with James Cook University to host a health screening and mental health information and awareness stall at the recent Blackall Show.

As well as mental health, alcohol and other drugs services, Central West Health delivers a number of mental health awareness and resilience building activities such as workshops, talks and courses right across the region throughout the year for the benefit of community members.

These are supported by the Central West Mental Health and Other Drugs Service Team and by the health service’s Regional Adversity Coordinator, Cameron Dare, who delivers services under the Queensland Government’s state-wide Tackling Regional Adversity through Connected Communities (TRACC) program.

Mr Dare said the TRACC program aimed to support community resilience-building strategies, projects and activities that helped develop and promote community networks, built awareness of mental health issues, and encouraged individuals to seek help if needed.

“At the Blackall Show, we worked with James Cook University to deliver an information stall,’’ Mr Dare said.

“JCU sixth year medical students who are doing placements at Longreach Hospital and Barcaldine Multipurpose Health Service, were on hand to deliver health screening checks such as blood pressure, heart rates and blood glucose tests.

“I’d like to thank JCU and their students for their support on the stall. They were very well- received by the community.

“Our Central West Health staff also were on hand to provide information about mental health issues and answer questions from members of the public.

“More than 20 people took advantage of the health screening checks delivered by the JCU medical students, while dozens more also came through our information stall, picking up information about mental health and generally having a chat.

“We also took the opportunity to give away a large number of Birdie’s Tree books to families who came to our stall.

“The Birdie’s Tree storybooks are designed to help kids cope with emotionally distressing external events.

“Each storybook deals with a different “scary’’ scenario such as storms, floods, droughts, fires, and the pandemic,

“The books are written to help babies and young children, their parents and families prepare for, cope with, and recover from natural hazards and disruptive events.’’

Birdie’s Tree

The Birdie’s Tree storybooks are published by the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, a unit of Children’s Health Queensland.

Child psychologist Dr Andrea Baldwin has authored seven of the storybooks and co-ordinates the development of other resources in the Birdie’s Tree suite.

She has worked with educator Sharleen Keleher to develop the Birdie’s Tree Early Learning Program.

She has also worked with childhood trauma expert Dr Alex De Young to develop the Birdie Cares early intervention program, as well as with an extensive multidisciplinary network to create ‘Relaxing with Birdie’ and ‘Fun with Birdie’.

She has also hosted training sessions for people interested in becoming Birdies Tree early learning program trainers, as well as webinars on how to use the resources.

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