Leaving my role at Massey University

Image result for sarb johal I am resigning my position after almost seven years in my role as Associate Professor in Disaster Mental Health at the Joint Centre for Disaster Research, jointly sponsored by GNS Science and Massey University. The position originated in the aftermath of the 2010-11 Canterbury quakes, where I was being asked to provide advice from afar in the UK, having helped to draw up and compile the guidance document for the Ministry of Health on psychosocial support in emergency events, back in 2006.

After some consideration, I decided to return back to New Zealand to assist with the response and recovery, but to base myself at a University where interested agencies and other parties could buy out my time, and I could also do related service, teaching and research work into the Canterbury events, and other preparatory, response and recovery work. Some seven years later, and I feel as though the mission that brought me to this role is at a point where I need to end my involvement in its current form. Through I am about to embark on delivering a series of 9 workshops around the country on the new psychosocial support framework for emergency events that we have developed for the NZ Ministry of Health, this will be the last substantive piece of work that I do in this role.

The Canterbury event and the impact on the many that have been affected by either the event itself and / or the subsequent secondary stressors that have caused much angst and pain with respect to repair and insurance problems is by no means over. But, I have become more aware of my own needs for self-care, but also other demands and desires on my time in my family, personal, and professional life. So, I have decided to resign my role in good spirits, thankful for the opportunity that I had to try to make a difference and for the supportive and smart colleagues with whom I worked throughout the journey in this part of my professional life.

I hope to stay involved in the work of the JCDR and the sector more generally, and welcome opportunities to do so, as well as seeking other kinds of work to meet my need for variety in my professional life.