Analysis of the second round of interviews with student participating in the Hazelwood Health Study (HHS) Schools Study has revealed that while the majority of the participants reported little to no ongoing concerns, some students reported ongoing issues.
According to Psychological Impacts stream lead Dr Matthew Carroll, this included dreaming about the event, feeling more restless, and attempting to avoid thinking about the event by distracting themselves with other activities.
The study aimed to assess the psychological impacts of six weeks of exposure to smoke and ash from the Hazelwood mine fire on school aged children. Researchers analysed the results of the face to face interviews held in 2017 with 46 students in grades 5, 7 and 9.
“While these findings are in line with what we found from the first round, a clear theme that emerged in this new analysis was that most students had ‘moved on’ from the Hazelwood event,” said Dr Carroll.
The report includes several suggestions from the students about how to respond to a future event, including the need for clearer communication with students on the potential impacts of the event and what they can do to look after themselves and their families.
According to Dr Carroll, the findings from across the different streams of the Hazelwood Health Study is continuing to shed light on the impacts of exposure to the smoke event and should inform any communications relating to a future event.
Analysis of Schools Study survey data and other educational data is continuing and will help evaluate any ongoing impacts of the Hazelwood event.
For more information about the Hazelwood Health Study, visit hazelwoodhealthstudy.org.au
This research was funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
To download the Research Summary, click here
To download the full report, click here