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Health News

Help on hand for Northern Rivers women

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Vulnerable women living in NSW Northern Rivers region affected by ongoing floods will have access to holistic support to address social, financial, and medical disadvantage.
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Help on hand for Northern Rivers women

 

Vulnerable women living in NSW Northern Rivers region affected by ongoing floods will have access to holistic support to address social, financial, and medical disadvantage.

Delivered through more than $1.5 million in Department of Communities and Justice grants, and facilitated through the Northern Rivers Women and Children’s Service (NORWACS), the funding will enable support to be delivered to remote and regional areas across the Northern Rivers through the Women’s Outreach Trauma Health Service (WORTH).

Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said as a result of recent floods, many services had been physically destroyed, along with housing and transport, impacting access to essential services by vulnerable groups.

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“Social inequalities experienced by women are magnified during and after natural disasters”, Minister Park said.

“The Northern Rivers region has experienced one emergency after another. First, it was the pandemic, then it was the floods.

“For women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence, these are particularly vulnerable times, with families facing economic pressures and possibly homelessness. That is why the work undertaken by the NORWACS emergency outreach program WORTH is so important.” The rate of domestic violence recorded for the Northern Rivers in the five years to September 2022 increased by 3.5% per year on average, with Tweed Heads recording the highest five-year increase at 6.9%.

Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Jodie Harrison said domestic and family violence had seen an increase in the years preceding the pandemic and continued to climb across the State.

“Before the floods, domestic violence recorded the highest increases of crime in Lismore for the preceding five years,” Minister Harrison said.

“With research demonstrating gender-based violence towards women increases after natural disasters, without intervention, we fear the Northern Rivers can expect this upward trend to continue.

“This service will ensure that women, especially those escaping domestic violence, who need access to critical services have access to them, when and where they need it.”

Vulnerable women living in NSW Northern Rivers region affected by ongoing floods will have access to holistic support to address social, financial, and medical disadvantage.

Vulnerable women living in NSW Northern Rivers region affected by ongoing floods will have access to holistic support to address social, financial, and medical disadvantage.

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin MP said she welcomed the additional funding.

“It will give additional support to women and children who have suffered domestic violence, exacerbated by our years of disasters,” she said. “NORWACS is an organisation committed to support and solutions.”

NORWACS General Manager, Kelly Banister, said NORWACS is committed to providing a tangible, proactive solution to alleviate as much disadvantage as possible while the region rebuilds.

“Even before the floods, the Northern Rivers was one of the highest housing stress areas in the State – so without homes and access to support services, such stress will develop into significant mental health challenges for the area and our hospitals,” Mrs Banister said.

“The Women’s Outreach Trauma Health Service will connect services across health, mental health, domestic violence and housing to support vulnerable women and create better outcomes.”

The outreach program will lead a team of qualified support workers from NORWACS and partner organisations who will visit communities to engage with local women and identify their needs, provide services and support community access to other services providers.

The initiative will provide relief through specialised women’s health and wellbeing in flood-affected communities across the Northern Rivers while physical services are rebuilt.

 

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A Heartfelt Journey: One Father’s Solo Trek to Transform Lives with Lifestart Disability Services

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A Heartfelt Journey: One Father’s Solo Trek to Transform Lives with Lifestart Disability Services

 

Scott Berry, a devoted Australian father, is embarking on a transformative journey from Brisbane to Sydney, cycling solo to raise vital support for Lifestart Disability Services, an organisation that has been a lifeline for his family for over two decades.

Commencing his heartfelt mission on Thursday, May 16th, Scott, a dedicated father of three from Kellyville, will pedal his way from Komatsu’s office in Brisbane to a jubilant reception awaiting him in Sydney, spanning a challenging 9-day trek – all in honour of Lifestart.

Lifestart extended a helping hand to Scott, his wife Julia, and their three sons over twenty years ago when their son Nathan was diagnosed with Autism as a toddler. Now 24 years old, Nathan stands as a shining example of the transformative power of Lifestart’s support and early intervention, leading a happy, independent life and contributing positively to his Hills community.

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Motivated by gratitude and a deep love for his family, Scott seized an opportunity provided by his employer, Komatsu Construction, to undertake a personal challenge for a charitable cause. For Scott, it was a chance to pursue his passion for cycling while giving back to the organization that profoundly impacted his family’s journey.

A poignant reunion awaits at the finish line on Friday, May 24th, where Nathan’s longtime therapist, Louise Ulliana, a speech pathologist, will surprise the Berry family. The reunion holds special significance as the Berrys credit Louise with positively shaping Nathan’s life during his formative years.

The critical importance of early intervention in childhood development cannot be overstated, and Lifestart’s support was pivotal in guiding Nathan’s educational journey, including the crucial transition to primary school.

Beyond providing support within the NDIS framework, Lifestart recognises the holistic needs of families and communities, offering initiatives like Start Strong Pathways and Speak UP to empower children and their support networks.

Through generous donations, Lifestart ensures that families receive comprehensive support beyond NDIS, fostering educational opportunities and building essential life skills. With dedicated professionals like speech pathologists and occupational therapists, Lifestart profoundly impacts the trajectory of children’s lives.

Scott, accompanied by family members, Nathan’s therapist, and a Lifestart representative, will be available for interviews and visual opportunities upon the completion of his inspirational ride.

For further details, including a VNR of the Berry family and b-roll of Lifestart, please visit the provided link.

 

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Study shows 20 per cent of Australians are harmed by others’ drinking

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Study shows 20 per cent of Australians are harmed by others’ drinking

 

A recent study conducted by La Trobe University, published in the Addiction journal, sheds light on the profound impact of excessive alcohol consumption on Australians, revealing that approximately 20% of adult Australians have experienced harm due to the drinking behaviours of acquaintances. The study delves into the repercussions on family members, friends, and colleagues.

Dr. Anne-Marie Laslett, the lead researcher, emphasises the pressing need for policy reforms and enhanced services, particularly to support regional women and children who bear the brunt of family members’ drinking habits.

The research, spanning both urban and rural areas, unveils a disparity in the harm experienced, with women disproportionately affected, especially when residing with or being related to heavy drinkers.

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Key findings indicate that nearly two-thirds of participants reported the presence of heavy drinkers in their social circles, with over 22% acknowledging adverse effects from the drinking habits of acquaintances. Specific instances of harm included emotional distress, neglect, and disruptions to familial roles.

Notably, 15% of women reported emotional distress compared to 8% of men, highlighting gender discrepancies in the impact of alcohol-related harm. Furthermore, serious consequences such as verbal abuse, financial strain, and even physical or sexual harm were reported by some participants.

Dr. Laslett underscores the urgent need for comprehensive interventions, including targeted support services for women and youth affected by others’ drinking. While advocacy organisations like the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Alcohol and Drug Foundation (ADF) have been championing harm prevention initiatives, immediate government action is imperative to address this multifaceted issue effectively.

Drawing from international research, Dr. Laslett suggests psychosocial interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and anger management, as effective strategies to alleviate the strain experienced by family members affected by others’ drinking habits. Tailored programs addressing intimate partner violence and alcohol abuse have shown promise overseas and warrant further exploration in the Australian context.

In conclusion, the study underscores the urgency of adopting a multifaceted approach encompassing policy reforms, targeted interventions, and enhanced support services to mitigate the far-reaching consequences of excessive alcohol consumption on individuals and their communities.

 

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Regional NSW’s Biggest Hospital Move Successfully Completed

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The new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen is now open
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Regional NSW’s Biggest Hospital Move Successfully Completed

 

By Sarah Waters

The new Tweed Valley Hospital in Cudgen is in full swing following the biggest hospital move in regional NSW history.

More than 120 patients were safely transferred by NSW Ambulance, and private patient transfer companies, last Tuesday, from the now closed Tweed Hospital on Powell Street in Tweed Heads.

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Northern NSW Local Health District’s Director Clinical Operations Lynne Weir said the transition to the new facility was the culmination of more than 12 months of logistical planning, while the project itself had been more than six years in the making.

“This is a momentous milestone for everyone involved in the project, and of course for our patients, staff and the wider community,” Ms Weir said.

“The level of collaboration, expertise and engagement which has brought us to this point is simply outstanding.

“We are looking forward to a bright future delivering the excellent healthcare we’re known for, in our brand-new health facility,” she said.

Tweed Valley Hospital is now the major referral and teaching hospital in the Tweed-Byron region.

It will provide a wide range of inpatient, day only and outpatient services in the brand new, state of the art facility.

These services include emergency, trauma and critical care, surgical services, cancer services, women’s care and newborn services, paediatric services, renal unit, intensive care, cardiac catheter laboratory and mental health.

Meanwhile, A range of community-based and outreach health services will continue to be delivered on the old Tweed Hospital site in Tweed Heads.

The Tweed Heads Community Health Centre (THCHC) will be established, and will initially provide services such as wound clinics, women’s health services, stomal therapy, Child and Family services, Needle and Syringe Program counselling, Alcohol and Other Drug counselling and some antenatal services.

Additional community-based services may also be offered from the site in the future.

In the short term, services will continue to be provided from the exiting Community Health building – level 2 administration block, accessed from Florence Street.

BreastScreen NSW services will continue to be delivered from the current location at Powell Street.

For more information please visit here. The Tweed Valley Hospital’s new telephone number is: 02 6677 2000.

 

For more Tweed Shire news, click here.

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