For people with a history of trauma, the world can feel like an unsafe place. As bushfires burn across Australia, these feelings can intensify.
The mental health impacts of traumatic events like the bushfire crisis can be huge, and long lasting. For people on the front lines, fighting fires or fleeing their homes, the danger is real and visceral. But for those further removed geographically from the fires, breathing smokey air and reading harrowing media reports can also be extremely distressing and triggering.
Everyone in Australia needs mental health support during this difficult time, and we've already seen many heartwarming examples of people looking out for each other, in the spirit of mateship.
But we must also remember that the impacts of this crisis will ripple out far beyond this moment. We need robust mental health support to be available not just during an emergency, but also well into the future.
For people with a history of trauma or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this is particularly important. These people can be incredibly resilient in times of crisis, and often step in to help others in need. But after the worst is over, the delayed impact on them can be significant.
SANE is committed to supporting people navigate the lasting impacts of the bushfire crisis and other traumatic events.
If you (or someone you know) needs support - the SANE Help Centre is open from Monday - Friday, 10am - 10pm AEST. Our team of counsellors are available by phone, web chat and email, so you can comfortably communicate in the way that feels best for you.
We can provide you with counselling, support, information and referrals, and we specialise in assisting adults who identify as having a complex mental health issue, complex trauma or high levels of psychological distress.
We also provide support to the family or friends that care about these people.
Click to visit the SANE Help Centre now.
If you'd like to chat with other people who understand what you're going though, the SANE Forums are online 24/7. There's one Forum for Lived Experience, and another for family, friends or carers. The Forums are anonymous, and moderated by health professionals, to keep the conversation safe and supportive.
The Australian Government has recently announced a mental health support package for people affected by the bushfires. If you have been affected by recent bushfire events and would like to access these supports you can call the Australian Government bushfire disaster assistance line on 180 22 66 or visit: https://www.lifeinmindaustralia.com.au/mental-health-support-for-bushfire-affected-communities
SANE is not a crisis service. If you’re feeling distressed and need urgent help now, call 000 or contact:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Callback Service: 1300 659 467
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800