Bushfires of 2009 Community Support Project
Anniversaries of trauma-related events can often trigger uncomfortable symptoms, such as: difficulty sleeping, excessive worry, moodiness, nervousness, poor concentration and fear. Traumatic events affect the whole of people's lives and everyone copes and recovers differently.
Community members needing assistance, are encouraged to speak with their local health professional for support. Alternatively, community members living within Mitchell, Murrindindi, Yarra Ranges, Whittlesea and Nillumbik regions can call the Australian Primary Mental Health Alliance (APMHA) who have experience in the original 2009 bushfire response on 1300 514 811 between 9am-5pm Monday to Friday.
If you need help now, call Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7 crisis support).
The headtohealth.gov.au website can also assist individuals and health professionals with information such as finding the appropriate digital mental health product, information on diagnoses, strategies for maintaining wellbeing and resources.
The Bushfires of 2009 Community Support Committee has formed in response to the approach of the 10th anniversary of the February 2009 bushfires.
The project has been funded by the Department of Health and Human Services in response to the possible need for increased community-based mental health, medical support and community capacity building - in Mitchell, Murrindindi, Yarra Ranges, Whittlesea and Nillumbik regions - in the lead up to, during, as well as after the commemorations of the 2009 bushfires.
Many members of the committee were directly involved in the initial response to communities impacted by the bushfires of February 2009. The committee is building on collective experience from Murray PHN, Department of Health and Human Services, Lower Hume Primary Care Partnership, Eastern Melbourne PHN, Australian Primary Mental Health Alliance (APMHA), Nexus Primary Health, Mitchell Shire, Murrindindi Shire, Alexandra District Health and GV Health.
Further information and resources for community members:
- Murray PHN bushfires of 2009 community support project frequently asked questions
- Suggestions on how to start a conversation around the 10-year anniversary
- Better Health Channel: trauma - reaction and recovery health information
- The University of Melbourne is completing a 10-year study 'BeyondBushfires' working to understand how people and communities are getting by after the February 2009 fires and what helps them through this process. Visit their website or Facebook page.
- For more information on recovering from long-term trauma click here.
Resources for community groups and organisations
Expressions of interest to attend Mental Health First Aid training, which teaches people the skills to help someone who they're concerned about, can be sent to APMHA at firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources for health professionals
- For information on primary mental health providers in the Murray PHN region click here
- For more support, general practice can contact APMHA here
- Murray PHN bushfires of 2009 support flyer
- The Victorian State Government's 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Victorian bushfires health professionals toolkit
- GPs can get free access to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) online emergency response planning tool (ERPT). For information click here.
Resources for media
- Click here for a collection of resources and information, including how to get in contact with community members who have expressed interest in being available for interview.
- Local councils have a list of local commemorative events on their websites, in communities from Alexandra to Flowerdale and Kinglake to Whittlesea. Click here for Murrindindi Shire Council, click here for Mitchell Shire Council, click here for Yarra Ranges Council, click here for City of Whittlesea, click here for Nillumbik Shire Council.