• Deirdre Brandner

How to support children directly impacted by the Australian Bushfires

Studies show disasters don't once the crisis point ceases. Research tells us that these traumatic events can have longer lasting impact on both children and their parents' mental wellbeing.

Why a child may be at risk of mental health issues after the Bushfires?

  • Some children can struggle to communicate their feelings

  • Others have never been exposed to a stressful/traumatic event

  • They can find it hard to understand why or how this happened

  • They have no control over what has occurred and understanding on what is to follow

How to help my child to cope with this Bushfire disaster

Research states the ability of the child to cope is strongly linked to their parent’s influence

  • Try having strategies for managing your own stress

  • Let your child talk about what has happened and answer questions honestly in a way they can understand

  • Where possible return to routines around eating and sleep

  • Limit exposure to the aftermath of the disaster and repeated footage

  • Studies show that seeing plans to rebuild, and observing regeneration of the environment is helpful

  • Social connection and feelings of community are vital in restoring wellbeing

Children need to know

  • This was scary and confusing but it’s not your fault

  • Things may be very different but we are still a family and you have each other

  • It’s okay to have lots of feelings after this event, like sad, angry and scared

  • Talking to adults about how they feel is very important and won’t make grown ups sad

  • Bushfires have happened before and communities have recovered, Australia has plans in place on how to rebuild

  • There are lots and lots of people who are there to help our family, our community and our wildlife

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