Reaching Out to Children after a Disaster

Dr. Vanessa Cobham works with communities affected by natural disasters such as flooding and bushfires. Dr. Cobham has said that her work in these communities convinced her that there is a need for government agencies to offer support services to families and children in the aftermath of major disasters.

Dr. Cobham maintains that, “[a]fter a natural disaster many people experience some anxiety and stress” but that children and youth are particularly vulnerable to these conditions. Due to the lack of support offered for young disaster victims, Dr. Cobham has created the Disaster Recovery Triple P seminar in collaboration with Professor Matt Sanders. The seminar aims to teach parents strategies to deal with their children’s reactions to disasters, which can include difficulty sleeping, nightmares, regressive behaviors, anxiety, and depression.

The program has received positive feedback from the participants and has been offered in Queensland, Tasmania, and the Canadian province of Alberta.