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Bushfires: Supporting your family to cope

Bushfires: Supporting your family to cope

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Community Manager

Bushfires: Supporting your family to cope

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Bushfires 

Coming into Summer, we have seen many areas of Australia impacted by Bushfires. This week we want to acknowledge all those communities impacted by bushfires, and to the wider community who are feeling the weight of natural disasters such as bushfires. If you are feeling worried, it is okay- you are not alone!

 

There has been a lot of media coverage of the bushfires this month and fire danger warnings heighten across the country. When disasters like bushfires happen, it can feel really overwhelming to know how to respond and look after yourself, your family and your community. We have seen an increase in the numbers of young people coming to our forums feeling concerned about the bushfires in the last week, wanting to know how they can cope with the stress of bush fire crises across the country. If you or your teen are feeling concerned about the bushfires, there are places you can go for support and things you can do to help your communities.



Where to get help? (if you are in a bushfire affected area):

  • Follow the advice of your local state fire brigade and authorities if you are in a bushfire affected area of Australia (Here are all the state based fire services: NSW RFSQLD RFSVICSATASNTWAACT)
  • For emergency help, call 000

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What can I do if my family members are feeling stressed about the bushfires but not in immediate danger?

  • Start a conversation and understand their concerns: Natural disasters can feel very overwhelming or scary, and it is normal to feel some anxiety when it comes to the safety of your family and home. Even for those not in fire affected areas, hearing about other's loss can be upsetting so having an open dialogue about how members of your family are feeling can be helpful. Remember that Lifeline and Kids Helpline are also available to chat 24/7 should someone you know need some immediate mental health support. 

  • Speak with others in your communities: Natural disasters impact communities, and connecting with people in your communities can help you feel less alone. 

  • Take care of yourself and role model stress management for your teen: Make sure you are doing all the things you need to do for your wellbeing, and encourage your family members to do the same. Do the things that help to bring down your stress- doing things for you in stressful times role models for teens that they can manage their stress too. 

  • Limit social media and news media if you need to: Today the news and social media has had ample reports on the fires. These can be really informative and important for understanding the situation as it unfolds, but if it becomes overwhelming for you or your teen, it is okay to take a break and step away from news and social media. If your teen is accessing the news and social media, it can also be beneficial to have a conversation with them about some of the things they may have seen or read about online relating to the bushfires. 
  • You can help to keep your community safe with these suggestions from the rural fire service

 

As a community, let's support each other through this tough time Heart Our hearts go out to the communities affected by bushfires. We are here to lend an ear

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Have other ideas about how to look after yourself and your family during bushfire season? You can share them here 

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Check out our community activities calendar for December 2019 here
Community Manager

Re: Bushfires: Supporting your family to cope

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I am just going to link a few resources that our parents community might find helpful Smiley Happy

 

  • Emerging Minds has developed a Community Trauma Toolkit to help support adults and children through disasters or traumatic events
  • Be You, Beyondblue has developed a number of resources aimed at schools and educators, but they are equally helpful for parents. You can find the fact sheet on Impact of Natural Disasters on Mental Health, Self care after a natural disaster and a ton of articles related to Grief, Trauma and Critical Incidents
  • ANU and the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network have developed a resource to help school communities recover after a bushfire. This toolkit has some helpful information about self care, what trauma looks like for young people, and how to create a safe environment to heal after a bush fire
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Check out our community activities calendar for December 2019 here