Coping through the Bushfire Crisis
18 February 2022
Our thoughts are with everyone who has been impacted by the recent fires and to those who have lost their homes. At times like this, it is important that we look out for each other. We want to be here for all Western Australians affected by the fires. Together we will get through this.
Communities and individuals affected by a natural disaster like bushfires will be experiencing unfamiliar thoughts and emotions that may be difficult to process all at once. It is key to know that any feelings you are experiencing are normal and valid. In going through such an ordeal, it can be difficult to cope with the practical, emotional, and physical impacts and Lifeline WA want to help you through this.
According to Lifeline Australia, each phase in recovering from a bushfire brings its own challenges as the full implications of rebuilding are recognised and addressed. Media coverage or alerts about similar events can also trigger a heightened sense of anxiety that may be out of proportion to the immediate danger associated with them for you personally.
Recognising your feelings
Reactions to a traumatic event are often more intense in the first weeks following the event. Usually these reactions ease over time, although you may experience some feelings for a longer period. You may experience:
Read more about understanding your feelings here.
What to do in the next few weeks
In the days and weeks after a disaster, it is important to do things that make you feel physically and emotionally safe. According to Headspace, it can help to:
Read more about what you can do to help in the weeks after a natural disaster that may help here.
Ways to cope
Recovery takes time. It is important to allow yourself time to process your circumstances and regain a sense of normalcy. There are things you can do to heal and rebuild.
You can read more about looking after yourself during a tough time here.
For specialised bushfire related emotional support, please call 13 HELP (13 43 57).
If you are struggling and need support for any situation, please call 13 11 14.
For more information on practical and financial assistance for those affected by the bushfire that originated in Wooroloo, please contact the Disaster Response Hotline for Welfare support on 1800 032 965
Written by Karen McGlynn
Image credit: DFES: Incident photographer Evan Collis