Skip to main content
Back to events

Supporting family and child mental health in the face of severe weather events and disasters

Posted Monday 04 March 2024 | AIFS and Emerging Minds

The number of severe weather events and disasters has increased significantly in recent decades. These events are lasting longer and having a greater impact with many families experiencing multiple disasters one after the other or even at the same time.

With a growing number of Australians faced with disasters, there is also growing awareness that these events significantly impact the emotional wellbeing of infants and children. However, there has been little exploration of how family structures and dynamics affect children’s recovery from these events.

In the face of extreme weather events and disasters, parents and caregivers can play a major role in keeping infants and children physically safe and emotionally well. But these events affect every member of the family, and the family unit as a whole. Caring for infant and child mental health requires effective support for families.

Some parents and caregivers say going through these events has brought the family closer together and strengthened their relationships. At the same time, this journey can be extremely challenging. Recovery can bring grief, anger and worry for parents and children. Often families must relocate or rebuild, change social circles, navigate multiple services and manage financial stressors, all of which can put further strain on family relationships. Research shows that families who’ve gone through a disaster are more likely to experience parental separation, family violence and substance misuse, which can further impact child wellbeing. 

This webinar will explore the complex interplay of factors that can support or disrupt the wellbeing of whole families following a severe weather event or disaster, and how these factors in turn affect infant and child mental health. From practice and lived-experience perspectives, the panellists will discuss evidence-informed approaches of how best to support children and families in the weeks, months and years following these events.  

This webinar will help you:

  • recognise the factors that affect the mental health and emotional wellbeing of infants, children and families following a disaster
  • understand the role of the family unit in supporting the recovery of infants and children after a disaster
  • develop awareness of family-focused approaches – including practices within the education context – that can support infants, children, parents, caregivers and the whole family unit after a disaster.

This webinar will interest practitioners working in health, social and community services who have contact with children and families who have experienced a severe weather event or disaster or may experience one in the future. 

While you will begiven a chance to ask questions during the webinar, we encourage you to send through questions in advance in the registration form.

This webinar is co-produced by CFCA and Emerging Minds in a series focusing on children’s mental health. They are working together as part of the Emerging Minds: National Workforce Centre for Child Mental Health, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care under the National Support for Child and Youth Mental Health Program.

Last updated: Wednesday 31 January 2024

Tagged in