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Conference to tackle trauma challenges in regional communities

First there was a drought, then bushfires, a mouse plague, a pandemic and now flooding rains. Unsurprisingly, the last two and a half years has created an increasing need for trauma support and domestic and family violence services in our regional communities. 


The Lithgow Cares Interagency Committee, a network of local services and organisations, has received funding to host a much-needed Lithgow Trauma Informed Recovery Conference from 6-7 September 2022. The aim of the conference will be to equip rural and regional workers across community welfare, health and education with best practice trauma and disaster recovery strategies.

Lithgow Community Projects Inc Manager Deonne Kinney said there is a growing need to have a collaborative and skilled response following experiences of community and environmental trauma. 

“The Lithgow Trauma Informed Recovery Conference will attract a wide range of professionals from across the community and welfare sectors, with a particular focus on those working within the Lithgow, Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Nepean areas,” she said. “The conference will provide access to quality training that can speak to the unique challenges of disaster recovery within regional areas and enhance inter-sectorial trauma informed collaboration, coordination and support. Frontline workers will have an increased understanding to better respond to children, young people and families’ cumulative experiences of trauma within these complex contexts.” 

Lithgow Information and Neighbourhood Centre’s Child, Youth & Family CounsellorSue Craig said she’s seen firsthand the devastating and ongoing impact of drought, bushfires, floods, plagues and the COVID pandemic on the community. 

“Sadly, over the past few years the experience of cumulative trauma has exacerbated feelings of distress, anxiety, powerlessness and isolation,” she said. “This has greatly impacted children and families, particularly those who were already vulnerable to domestic and family violence.

“This all occurred in a context where demand for local support services increased far beyond our capacity. Regional communities have unique needs and the upcoming conference will be an essential component in planning a coordinated and collaborative response to support recovery in the short and long term.”

The conference has been made possible through funding received from Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network (NBMPHN), as part of the Australian Government’s response to the 2019/20 bushfires. Wentworth Healthcare is the provider of NBMPHN. Wentworth Healthcare CEO Lizz Reay said they are proud to fund this unique training and networking opportunity for workers in the region. 

“We know our communities have faced many challenges over the past few years,” she said. “Our frontline workers have been at the centre of it all supporting people through their toughest moments and well into their recovery journey.

“After the 2019/20 Black Summer Bushfires, we conducted extensive community consultation to identify areas of improvement, and the support needs of both our communities and our frontline workers. It revealed a great need for further training, particularly in mental health first aid and trauma-informed care.

“The Lithgow Trauma Informed Recovery Conference will equip workers with the necessary knowledge and build on their existing skills to continue to assist people traumatised by disasters for the long-term,” she said. 

For more information about the Lithgow Trauma Informed Recovery Conference or to book your seat, please visit http://www.lcpinc.org/lithgowtraumainformedrecoveryconference

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