Conversations | 6. Emma Jarvis – Meaningful Connection

By Donna Shepherd AM • Managing Director
• Conversations

Having the world turned suddenly upside down is a stressful time for anyone but it can be a particularly tough for people with alcohol and drug dependence problems.

Palmerston Association chief executive Emma Jarvis is grappling with the issues surrounding keeping clients on track amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And she is also aware of the toll the stress can take on her staff, most of whom are working from home.

As part of Creating Communities’ Stronger Together series of video conversations to help people navigate through these testing times, Emma offers some useful advice on dealing with a transformed home environment where in many cases, parents and children will be working and studying at home.

She says it is important that a manageable routine is maintained, and that discussions are had about expectations – what do we expect from ourselves and each other in this strange new normal?

Mental health is a big issue for many people, and those with dependence problems may be particularly vulnerable when they are isolated. Emma says support is still there – it just may be delivered in different ways, with people working remotely and staying in contact by phone, email and video calls.

Online and phone services are still available, and people suffering serious mental stress can call Lifelife on 131114.

Emma Jarvis is chief executive officer of drug and alcohol support service Palmerston Association, a board director of the Western Australian Association for Mental Health, board director of the Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies, committee member of the Supporting Communities Forum and former vice chair of the WA AIDS Council.

This interview is part of Creating Communities’ series of video conversations with prominent Australians offering insights and wisdom on coping with the challenges this pandemic presents for all of us. It is a key part of our “Stronger Together” approach to the COVID-19 crisis as we work to bring people and communities together to help each other through this testing time.