Bushfire Emergency-Mental Health Response

As we witness the fires that are raging across Australia, our response to the emotional experience of others horror, fear, hopelessness, despair and misery is strong. However, now is not the only time to focus on the experience of others. Mental health professionals need to keep the emotional experience of those involved in these incidents in mind years down the track. Keeping PTSD in mind.

Over time communities will begin rebuilding and the urgency of an emergency response will reduce. This is the time when mental health professionals need to be aware of the impact of natural disasters on those involved, and the potential for PTSD.

Over 10 years ago on 7 February 2009, Black Saturday took place. The beyond bushfires report published in 2016 found that:

Post traumatic Mental health was still high after 5 years, 21% were suffering from PTSD in high impacted areas.

What might appear as loss, what might appear as depressed mood at the thought of rebuilding, what might be viewed as anger management problems, could also be due to PTSD.