Greater support for people involved crashes has been identified as a need for the Goldfield-Esperance region, according to Road Trauma Support WA community outreach coordinator Georgie Sweeting.
Road Trauma Support WA is a state wide service supporting anyone impacted by road trauma in the state.
Visiting the region last week, Ms Sweeting said she especially saw demand for the service in Kalgoorlie and Esperance.
Ms Sweeting said her assessment was backed up with alarming statistics.
During 2016 in the Goldfields-Esperance region 50 people were killed or seriously injured.
From 2012-2016 in the Goldfields-Esperance region 300 people were killed or seriously injured.
Speaking at the Esperance Road Safety Alliance Ms Sweeting endeavoured to raise the service’s profile, highlighting the benefits it could have in the region.
Across Thursday and Friday Ms Sweeting talked to key stakeholders in town who deal with road trauma including: WA Police, St John Ambulance and the Department of Fire and Emergency Service.
The free service is funded by the Road Trauma Trust Account, where the State’s red light and speeding fines are diverted.
The service is relatively new and supports all West Australians impacted, regardless of when the crash occurred or their level of involvement, direct or indirect.
The service team of specialised psychologists see clients from across the spectrum who may have caused road crashes – and that includes those in prison and navigating the legal system – those who have been injured, those who have lost family or friends in road crashes, carers, witnesses and emergency services personnel who are impacted by the work they do.
“It’s really important that the support is also there for someone who caused a crash. We don’t discriminate,” Ms Sweeting said.
They deliver specialised counselling services from Perth and service clients regionally via telephone, Skype and email counselling.
Ms Sweeting said while using technology rather than face-to-face communication wasn’t ideal, it meant their small team of three councillors could services regional and remote clients easier.
“It’s obviously not ideal in the first instance, it’s probably better to work face to face and then subsequently it can be easier to talk on the phone or via email,” she said.
“We’ve got quite a few clients in regional areas and they seem reasonably comfortable on the phone.
“We do tend to find that men, especially blokes in the country, are more comfortable when it’s not face to face. So that can often work better for them.”
Of those killed or injured in the Goldfields-Esperance region, 65 per cent were men.
The service also undertakes education training for emergency services.
“We’re looking at running a work shop down here for DFES, St John and Police,” Ms Sweeting said.
“The workshop is called Working With Grieve, Trauma and Loss.
“It gives them strategies to deal with people who have been in traumatic situations and how to communicate with them effectively and also on a personal level about self care to avoid [post-traumatic stress disorder] and burn out.
“It’s quite a practical one day course.”
Ms Sweeting said at this stage the workshop would likely be held in early April next year.
For more information on the service visit https://www.rtswa.org.au/
Their website also has a series of factsheets for those seeking support.
“A lot of people don’t necessarily need counselling they just need a bit more [information]. We’ve got a whole heap of fact sheets on our website,” Ms Sweeting said.