• Steph Stephens

Surviving bushfires and smoke


Communities and individuals affected by bushfires can experience a range of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that can be intense, confusing and very frightening.


Over the past month (although Canberra until this week hasn’t had any significant fires) the smoke has been extremely debilitating and for some it has triggered a response, especially for those who were around in 2003.


There has also been a real sense of depression surrounding Canberra during intense periods of smoke and when news of loved ones at the Coast, and other fire affected areas, filtered through.


It is common for people to struggle with feelings and emotions surrounding the fires, but it’s also important to know the difference between a common reaction and a stressful one where you should seek help.


If you or a family member are experiencing the following feelings for more than a month then please discuss these with a GP or mental health worker:


· Feeling overwhelmed

· Feeling numb and detached

· Inability to focus

· Inability to plan ahead

· Constant tearfulness

· Intrusive memories or bad dreams related to the bushfires

· Sleep disturbances

· Replaying events and outcomes.


Free counselling is available at your nearest recovery centre, evacuation centre or any mental health service offered by Primary Health Networks.


You can get more information on the services and support offered by the government for the Bushfire disaster on 1802266.


There is also an online forum called ‘Coping with bushfires’ which provides a safe, understanding place to share how you are feeling about the fires and how to get support.


Life goes on after a disaster and in a couple of weeks the school term will commence and students will need school supplies.


It would be amazing if people could donate either exercise books, pencil packs, erasers, sharpeners, lunch boxes, water bottles or all of the above in a backpack. These items are very much needed by the community.


Items required: Tinned tomatoes, Vegemite, 425g tinned tuna


Kind regards,


Steph Stephens


Community Worker

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