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Lingering Trauma – Black Summer bushfires

Summer is approaching. Many of us think about the beach and surf, enjoying the great outdoors, ice-creams and cool drinks relaxing and care-free (COVID-free) with a few friends.

However for some there are triggers that will raise anxieties and fears and reactions far beyond normal as memories of fearful experiences will flood back. Strong hot winds, the sound of a helicopter, the distinctive smell of burning gum leaves can be triggers, and then we have COVID. In these COVID times it can be more difficult for these people to socially connect: to share and connect with others to ease their anxieties.

This ABC News article from October 2020 discusses the impact of the bushfires on the mental health of people who experienced them. Recognising the impact in yourself is one step, reaching out and seeking help is another. The AFRF is reaching out to emergency first responders – to those who feel they have been affected, however we are also reaching out to the first responders who recognise they will be challenged emotionally and need to develop their resilience through understanding mental health and wellbeing practices. This is at the core of what the AFRF seeks to do through our FRESHER retreats. We all need to look after our physical health and our mental health. Take a step.

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