It is almost ten years since Victorians lived through the worst heatwave and bushfires in our nation’s history.
As the anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires approaches, many people who were affected directly or indirectly may re-experience the same feelings of grief, loss, guilt and trauma.
There are strategies you can use to cope with these strong feelings, including accepting that you had a distressing or frightening experience, rest, exercise and talking with friends, family and other community members. You can find more coping strategies at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au.
If you know someone who was affected by the 2009 bushfires, it’s a good idea to check in on them to see if they are ok. People find it helpful to know that family and friends are thinking of them, and talking and providing support can be beneficial.
If you or someone you know is finding this time difficult, it’s important to remember you are not alone. There are many places you can go to for advice or help.
Talking to your family, friends or people in your community is often a good place to start.
Depending on the support you need, you can also talk to your GP, a mental health professional, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or access information and resources online via sane.org.
The Victorian Government is providing health and mental health support to communities across the state, through existing services. These include counselling services; mental health, alcohol and other drugs counselling; community engagement activities; and GP locums. To access these services please speak with your local GP.
EACH also provides a range of support services, for more information please call our Service Access number: 1300 003 224.
Find out more about what is planned to commemorate the anniversary at www.vic.gov.au/2009-bushfires.