Bushfire Recovery

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Psychological recovery & growth after the bushfires

Recent bushfires within Australia are likely to have a significant impact on the mental health of members of the community, particularly first responders such as fire fighters, police and emergency medical personnel.  

Trauma symptoms:

  • Intrusive memories, flashbacks and nightmares which continue for 4 weeks after the event(s)
  • Active avoidance of thoughts and situational reminders of traumatic event (s)
  • Negative cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event (s)
  • Hyper arousal such as exaggerated startle response, insomnia, irritability, sleep disturbance, and reduced concentration.

First responders often respond to trauma with anger and guilt rather than the fear and horror often described by members of the public exposed to a single incident trauma. Trauma symptoms are often minimised by first responders thus they are more likely to present for treatment for more indirect symptoms such as substance abuse, interpersonal conflict or violent outbursts.

Trauma Treatment:

Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing (EMDR) or Trauma Focused CBT are the only evidence-based treatments recommended for PTSD treatment for first responders.

Ways of accessing trauma treatment:

From the 17th of January 2020 individuals directly impacted by the recent fires will be eligible to receive up to 10 Medicare rebated sessions without a mental health care plan.

People age 25 & over who have been significantly impacted by bushfires as defined by material loss of property, loss of business income and/or significant deterioration in mental health as a result of the threat of the bushfire can be referred under the Psychological Therapy Services Bush fire stream for up to 10 free sessions within 6 months of referral date. To access this support, please see your GP and ask them to refer you to see Michelle Grosvenor by contacting Wentworth Health care on 1800 223 365. Once you have a valid referral code, you can then contact the practice on 4722-3137 to book an appointment.

Those exposed to trauma in the line of paid employment can be referred for trauma treatment under Workcover services (GP referral required).

Trauma Trained Psychologists on our team:

We currently have four trauma trained Psychologists available to see patients affected by the recent fires via work cover or Medicare rebated services at our Penrith and Katoomba offices as outlined below:

 EMDRTrauma focused CBT
PenrithBelinda Grugan, Michelle Grosvenor, Hannah HeazlewoodJessica Stanford
Upper MountainsMichelle GrosvenorNil

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