Helping Australians mentally prepare for bushfire season

Australian Psychological Society

As bushfire season ramps up across the country, it’s important to provide the community with tools to mentally prepare themselves for what could be a challenging time.

Experts are predicting that Australia is in for a hot, dry summer, and with it, an increased risk of bushfires across many states and territories. In fact, Spring has already seen fires cropping up across the country.

With the increased risks of climate-related natural disasters comes a potential spike in mental-ill health. A quarter of Australians meet the criteria for clinical anxiety or trauma related to climate change, research finds. And while this is experienced across all generations, it is particularly pronounced in younger people.

Separate research shows that two-thirds of people aged 16-25 report climate concerns having a negative impact on their mental health, and over half (56%) said their concerns have increased over the past 12 months.

These anxieties and/or traumas (such as for those who were impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer fires) will require expert treatment on a case-by-case basis. As psychology professionals, we can help to mentally prepare our communities by sharing some simple steps that could help people develop psychological resilience ahead of a potential natural disaster.

A resource to share with the community

The following infographic is a great starting point to help the community prepare for the bushfire season.

Click the graphic below to download your copy

Feel free to share this resource privately with clients or spread the word by sharing it on your social network. If you do, we’d love you to tag us so we can see all the important discussions that are sparked as a result.

Looking for more help to psychologically prepare for the bushfire season? Access a range of other APS resources here.

/Public Release. View in full here.