Bushfire and natural disaster mental health resources

 Please find below a link to mental health resources related to bushfire and natural disaster

Phoenix Australia has collated resources and advice through their website including the joint publication Looking After Yourself for adults, children and support persons.

Beyond Blue has a list of information and resources for people living in bushfire affected areas.

The Black Dog Institute has worked with NSW Fire and Rescue to develop resources for first responders including Raw Mind Coach applying mindfulness-based approaches to support resilience and recovery.

The NSW Health Department of Health have a Bushfire Mental Health Support Webpageservices including the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line 1800 018 444

Vic Health has prepared a webpage with a range of factsheets for bushfire exposed communities.

Some very helpful bushfire response and reaction resources have been collated by the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network, based within the ANU College of Health & Medicine including helpful resources for children.Advice and links to resources are also available on through 

Headspace online resources.

We also draw attention to the many resources that have been collated by the team at the Australian Institute for Disaster ResilienceKnowledge
A substantial program of mental health research and intervention developed in response to the Black Saturday Disaster, 7 February 2009.

Beyond Bushfires Study

The Beyond Bushfires Study (key document available here) was a collaborative partnership between Melbourne University and Australian trauma and mental health researchers. A full list of the Beyond Bushfires is available here with full text links to pdf copies of peer-review publications. Some of the publications that may be of more immediate interest are listed below.

van Kessel G, Gibbs L & MacDougall C. Strategies to enhance resilience post natural disaster: A qualitative study of experiences with Australian floods and fires. Journal of Public Health. 2015, 37 (2), 328-336.

Gibbs L, Di Pietro M, Harris A, Ireton G, Mordech S, Roberts M, Sinclair J, Wraith R.Core principles for a community based approach to supporting child disaster recovery. Australian Journal of Emergency Management. 2014; 29(1): 17-24.

Bryant RA, Gibbs L, Gallagher H C, Pattison P, Lusher D, MacDougall C, Harms L, Block K, Snowdon E, Sinnott V, Ireton G, Richardson J, Forbes D. Longitudinal Study of Changing Psychological Outcomes Following the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 2017; DOI: 10.1177/0004867417714337

Gallagher HC, Block K, Gibbs L, Forbes D, Lusher D, Molyneaux R, Richardson J, Pattison P, MacDougall C and Bryant RA. The effect of group involvement on post-disaster mental health: A longitudinal multilevel analysis. Social Science & Medicine. 2019; 220:167-175 

The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission on Fire Preparation Response and Recovery prepared also collates evidence on helpful responses in the post-disaster period.

The ABC program Behind the News has some online documentaries that are suitable for children,  https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/bushfire-kids-visit/11703500 and https://www.abc.net.au/btn/classroom/bushfire-escape/10527198

We also draw attention to the Survive and Thrive intervention implemented in primary schools with children exposed to the Black Saturday fires. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kn3ZVwhxuP0 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC9ELky49gE

Finally, to make financial or other direct contributions in support of the National response and relief effort, the ABC News Website provides helpful links to state-based volunteer fire services, key charities involved in the humanitarian response and animal welfare agencies involved in the disaster management and relief (click here).

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