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PACMAT team mobilise psychosocial sessions to support RSE workers in the Hawke's Bay
Updates / News , 24 Feb 23
The Pasifika Medical Association's (PMA) Medical Assistance Team (PACMAT) in the Hawke's Bay have hit the ground running to provide psychosocial support for RSE workers.

The team arrived on Tuesday 21st February and have since been active in their response to the increased needs for mental health support, already having recently facilitated two psychosocial group education sessions for 254 RSE workers.  

Psychosocial Lead for the PACMAT team, Amanaki Misa, says the sessions aim to educate on mental health issues as well as coping strategies. 

"Our team continue to identify individuals who are dealing with mental health issues such as PTSD and anxiety. These workers have been through quite a lot in a short timeframe and are dealing with the trauma from the recent events without possibly realising it.  

"It's important that we explore what mental health is and talanoa about how they can approach those emotions safely rather than ignore it." 

The team are also working closely with local providers and agencies to ensure a coordinated response on the ground, providing medical checks and vaccinations for measles and Covid-19.  

In response to a request from the community and Te Whatu Ora, a team of five specialists from the PACMAT group have been deployed to Gisborne to provide Primary Care and Mental Health support.  

Chief Executive for PMA and Incident Commander for the PACMAT mission, Debbie Sorensen, says they will continue to support where needed. 

"We've sent a team of five to Gisborne and they have been specifically identified and sent because of the need and language capabilities. 

"As our team on the ground continue to provide support, we're starting to see the mental health impacts from the cyclone and this is why the team is there; we're there to serve and respond to the needs of the community in the Hawke's Bay."