Bushfire response

Bushfire response

17 January 2020

Orygen is reaching out to young people as Australia rallies to respond to the bushfire emergency.

Orygen Executive Director Professor Patrick McGorry said Orygen was committed to caring and advocating for young people, their families and carers, and contributing to innovations in research, workforce support and development that provide positive responses in times of emergency and crisis.

“This is a challenging time for many,” Professor McGorry said. “There have been many Australians impacted directly as a result of bushfires. With constant news and social media highlighting devastation to individuals, communities and animals, many young people may be experiencing vicarious trauma or increased anxiety around the impact of climate change. We are working with young people to understand how Orygen can best partner to respond now and into the future.”

Earlier this week the Australian Government announced mental health funding to tackle bushfire-related trauma.

Professor McGorry said it was pleasing to note that the government’s response included investment in young people through the provision of $3 million for headspace centres in bushfire affected areas, as well as other services and supports that young people can access.

“Past experience with disasters emphasises the crucial need and opportunity to strengthen core primary care and specialist mental health systems to provide the care and services required,” Professor McGorry said.

“The mental health impact of the bushfire emergency will be complex and serious. We know from previous experience this will unfold in stages. The immediate priority is safety and shelter, practical and emotional support.”

Orygen has compiled a range of information and resources in support of young people, their families and carers. 

For those working with affected young people, Orygen has a suite of trauma-informed care resources that may be of use.