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National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework 2021

5.3 Coordinated information and data collection and sharing

Having to tell one’s story repeatedly to access support can be frustrating and stressful and is a barrier to seeking help. Being questioned multiple times about basic information or documentary evidence while struggling to cope may result in people feeling doubted or re-traumatised.

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended that Australian, state and territory governments should agree to:

  1. 1. develop consistent and compatible methods and metrics to measure health impacts related to natural disasters, including mental health, and
  2. 2. take steps to ensure the appropriate sharing of health and mental health datasets.18

Methods to enable joint collection and the sharing of baseline information and mental health outcomes data about people affected by disasters across agencies and sectors are needed. These could be as simple as organisations collaborating locally to jointly interview people, to more advanced digital strategies such as deployment of an app that allows for information sharing and provides user updates.

A collaborative approach to sharing health data and information can assist cross agency collaboration and support and will ultimately contribute to Australia’s ability to build resilience on a national level.