RAMHP is working with Department of Defence and University of Newcastle Family Action Centre (UNFAC) to deal with mental health issues arising out of chemical contamination in Williamtown, NSW. RAMHP is helping to develop and deliver mental health awareness and stress management activities in the Williamtown area; as well as the Community Wellbeing Program – Step Outside the Zone.
In early September 2015, the discovery of a chemical contamination around the Williamtown RAAF base in the NSW Hunter Valley was made public. The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) warned that chemicals historically used in fire-fighting foam at the RAAF base had been found in surface water, groundwaters and in fish species in nearby waterways. Residents living near the base were warned to take precautions such as not eating fish or oysters from local waterways, not drinking bore water or food grown from the use of bore water, or eating local eggs.
The stress associated with the unknown prior exposure to the contamination and unsubstantiated claims of what the impact of exposure to such chemicals is, has been huge. As a result, community members impacted by the RAAF Base contamination issue now have access to a dedicated mental health service. Associate Professor Martin Cohen, Director Hunter New England Mental Health Service approved the establishment of weekly half-day clinics at Fern Bay Medical Centre. A dedicated phone line has also been established for the people of Williamtown to easily access mental health clinicians for appointments and support on 0417 494 576 between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
For more information, please contact:
RAMHP Coordinator, Tamworth
0428 109 990