Bushfires can be distressing and you might feel things like frustration, sadness and anxiety, or have trouble sleeping or remembering things. This is a normal reaction to an abnormal event. Having someone to listen and support you at times like this is important. Some tips on managing your recovery include:
- Spend time with family and friends
- Try to get back into a routine
- Continue a healthy lifestyle (eating, sleeping, exercise)
- Take time out but don't isolate yourself
- Express your feelings in your own way
- Accept help when it is offered
- Limit the amount of media coverage you are exposed to
- Don’t expect to have all the answers
- Understand you are not alone in your experience.
Keep checking in with your friends and neighbours and looking out for each other. The following are free services available 24 hours a day, seven days a week:
- Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
- Lifeline: 13 11 14
- Mensline: 1300 789 978
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636
- Liverpool Hospital's Mental Health Line: 1800 011 511
Better Access Bushfire Recovery
Anyone who has been affected by bushfire can see a mental health professional for up to 10 bulk-billed sessions, per calendar year. This is part of the Better Access Bushfire Recovery initiative funded by Medicare.
STAR4Kids provides free mental health support for children affected by bushfire who live in Wollondilly, Wingecarribee & Camden.
Talk to your GP to find out more. Or call AT Full Potential on 4655 1694 to discuss a referral.
For Young People (12-25)
Rerame provides free mental health support for young people affected by bushfire in Wollondilly and Wingecarribee.
Talk to your GP to find out more. Or call or text Community Links Wellbeing on 0455 104 104 to discuss a referral.
You in Mind provides free mental health support for people (aged 12+) affected by bushfire.
Wollondilly & Wingecarribee residents can access You in Mind by talking to your GP to find out more. Or call/text Community Links Wellbeing on 0455 104 104. If you live in Warragamba/Silverdale areas call Connection Emotion Reflection on 4684 3663 to discuss a referral.
Support for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples
Wollondilly and Wingecarribee residents can access Connection Emotion Reflection. They provide free mental health support for people affected by bushfire who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Talk to you GP to find out more. Or call Connection Emotion Reflection on 4684 3663 to discuss a referral.
Emerging Minds- Resources for Health and Social Service Practitioners.
Download the Emerging Minds- Resource for Health and Social Service Practitioners leaflet to find helpful links to their Community Trauma Toolkit, podcasts, facts sheets and more.
You can also find helpful information for supporting children during a disaster or traumatic events by reading their Supporting children's mental health during disaster and traumatic events- resource list fact sheet.
Clean up considerations
- Do not enter your property until you are advised that it is safe to do so by emergency services, utilities companies or your local council.
- Electrical hazards could exist such as live power lines that may be down or active solar panels.
- Buildings and other structures may be unstable to enter or walk over.
- Sewerage and septic systems may be disrupted causing health risks.
- Be aware that hot, smouldering coals and other potentially hazardous materials may be hidden under the rubble.
- Building rubble should not be buried as it may contain hazardous materials.
- Waste generated as a result of the bushfires needs to go to lawful facilities to ensure soil, water and human health is protected.
- Don’t spread ash around your property, particularly if asbestos materials were used in your home or other structures, or CCA-treated timber was burnt.
- Moisten the ash with water to minimise dust and keep damp but do not use high pressure water sprays.
- Asbestos dust and fibres have the potential to present a health risk during and after a fire if not properly managed.
- Asbestos clean-up and removal must be done by a licensed asbestos removalist.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 000.