Mental toll of climate change

EARLIER this year, Victorian GP and public health physician Dr Rob Grenfell was asked  to contribute his observations and experiences about climate change and its impact on mental health to a landmark Climate Institute report. Sadly, he felt overqualified.

Dr Grenfell, who now spends much of his time in Melbourne working for the Heart Foundation returns to his beloved community of Natimuk – where he practised as a GP for 13 years – at least once a fortnight and is glowing in his summation of the town’s determination and character in its struggle against what he describes as “biblical” adversity.

Already reeling after years of record-breaking droughts that have devastated the Wimmera region’s farming sector, the community was not spared the tragedy of the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009.

As Natimuk willed itself back to its feet, it was dealt yet another blow earlier this year in the form of widespread