STARTTS staff help with testing sites

Helping out: STARTTS staff at the Edensor Park pop-up clinic at 673 Smithfield Road.
Helping out: STARTTS staff at the Edensor Park pop-up clinic at 673 Smithfield Road.

NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors (STARTTS) staff have been supporting in assisting the Assyrian and Arabic speaking communities with information while registering for COVID-19 testing at a pop-up testing clinic at Eden Venues, Edensor Park.

Various staff from the multidisciplinary and multicultural team who speak more than 25 languages will be deployed over the next few weeks at pop-up clinics at the request of South Western Sydney Local Health District.

Yassmen Yahya, a Sabian Mandean community leader, said their role was to help people - especially the elderly - to register through the phone app.

 Loan Bui supporting CALD communications for the Vietnamese community.

Loan Bui supporting CALD communications for the Vietnamese community.

"We transplant the information on the form and help them to fill it in so it is a faster process," she said.

In the 12 months to June 30, 2020, STARTTS provided individual counselling and group support services to 6260 clients around NSW.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to provoke heightened anxiety amongst refugee survivors of torture and trauma as it endangers family members overseas and compounds many of previous experiences of trauma people have lived through.

In the last eight months, STARTTS has established more than 100 support, activity and counselling groups to encourage and restore social connection.

Separation from family in situations of danger overseas remains a major concern for many people from refugee backgrounds and with the suspension of the Refugee and Special Humanitarian program many relatives of STARTTS clients are unable to join them here in Australia.