25 September 2023

UC researchers tap into drought

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The University of Canberra (UC) has dispatched a caravan of researchers from two of its Faculties to provide support for drought-affected rural communities in NSW.

Faculty of Arts and Design (FAD), and Faculty of Health staff and students travelled to the rural NSW town of Condobolin in UC’s Mobile Health Hub where the mobile clinic will serve as a nerve centre for a range of week-long program activities, which will run until tomorrow (Friday, 23 November).

Manager of Strategic Projects and Business Development at FAD, Ian Drayton said that when it came to drought relief, many people had jumped onboard to provide food etc.

“These are great efforts, but I think we need to look at what’s going on in the mental health space as well,” Mr Drayton said.

Senior Lecturer in Psychology in the Faculty of Health, Dean Buckmaster said that according to 2016 statistics from the Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, suicide rates outside Australia’s greater capital cities accounted for 42 per cent of suicide deaths nationally.

“The bottom line is that for many rural families, there will be no harvest because of the drought, and therefore little to no income. This then ripples outwards, to affect the whole community,” Dr Buckmaster said.

Funded by the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), the program has at its heart a series of creative arts workshops.

These will be informed by the Creative Arts Recovery Program that UC has been running for Department of Defence veterans suffering from trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

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