Preparedness 

As well as physical and practical preparation, it is helpful for people to know how to prepare psychologically before a bushfire and how to cope emotionally during or after a bushfire. The following resources can help.

Don't panic: Be prepared

Helpful tips for being psychologically prepared as you get ready for the bushfire season.

APS tip sheet: Psychological preparation for natural disasters

This APS tip sheet outlines the importance of being psychologically prepared and provides the steps to take for psychological preparation when a natural disaster is threatening.

Preparing children for the threat of bushfire: Information for parents and carers

This brochure provides ways of assisting parents and carers to help children manage their fears and to have a greater sense of being in control in threatening bushfire situations.

Recovery

Victorian Bushfire Psychological Counselling Voucher Program

Looking after children who have been affected by bushfires: Guidelines for parents and caregivers

Children are not always able to express complex feelings in the same direct way that adults do and therefore do not often show the same reactions to stress as adults. It is therefore very important to look out for changes in children’s behaviour that suggest they are unsettled or distressed.

APS tip sheet: Understanding and managing psychological trauma

This APS tip sheet outlines the symptoms of psychological trauma and provides tips on how to manage it.

Seeking further help

A qualified mental health professional such as a psychologist can help you to understand and deal with the thoughts, feelings and behaviours associated with the trauma of the bushfires. Speak to your GP about a referral to a psychologist or phone the APS Find a Psychologist service on 1800 333 497. Alternatively, you can locate a psychologist in your area by visiting the APS Find a Psychologist website.

Find a Psychologist button

Additional resources

Bushfire information package for women

Women's Health Victoria has put together a women's health information package and other resources to assist in the initial and ongoing stages of recovery for those affected by the Victorian bushfires and other disaster situations.

Red Cross resources for children

Includes Get ready! and After the emergency booklets

Preparedness and disaster planning

Resources from the Australian Child & Adolescent Trauma, Loss & Grief Network (ACATLGN).

Tips for recovering from disasters and other traumatic events

Tips from the American Psychological Association (APA).