Bushfires may bring up feelings of anxiety, especially people who have been through it before or have a pre-existing mental health issue.
Preparing for a bushfire isn’t only about getting your house or property ready. Preparing yourself emotionally is also important.
Preparing a bushfire plan will help reduce the uncertainty and anxiety for you and your family. Use the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS)
My Fire Plan to make your own plan online. It can take as little as five minutes. You can also use the Red Cross’ Rediplan template.
If you have a pre-existing mental health issue, you’re at higher risk of distress but knowing what to expect can make it easier to work on recovering. Read SANE’s
Managing pre-existing mental health issues during disaster and recovery.
Ask yourself these questions:
It is completely normal to experience a range of emotions if you are directly or indirectly affected by bushfires. These may happen immediately, but sometimes much later, and may affect sleep, mood, anxiety and daily routines.
Looking after your mental health is more important than ever right now.
There are small things you can do to regain some control and cope during this tough time:
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000). Professional help is available and only a phone call away. You can call:
Disaster Recovery Clinicians are located in local health districts across NSW and are on the ground to provide support at recovery centres and in the community to ensure people are linked to mental health and practical support as quickly as possible.
Farm Gate Counsellors and Rural Peer Support Workers are located in local health districts across rural and regional NSW. These positions provide outreach support and coordination with local services and communities.
If anyone needs a referral to a specialist mental health service including the Disaster Recovery Clinicians and Farm Gate Counsellors, they should call the NSW Mental Health Line on
1800 011 511.
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) helps educate and connect people in rural areas with mental health support through projects, local and national partnerships, health information, tailored advice, workshops and short courses. 20 RAMHP Coordinators are located in local health districts across remote, rural and regional NSW. RAMHP Coordinators do not provide crisis support. To contact your local RAMHP Coordinator visit the
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP)website and type in your postcode.
If you need to talk to someone you can:
Finding new ways of connecting to culture, spending time with others and keeping a routine are some deadly tips to focus on your mental health and wellbeing during the bushfire season. You can find these tips in
Deadly ways to look after yourself this bushfire season by the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council (AH&MRC). Further information and resources available at
Learn more about preparing for bushfire season, managing your health during bushfires and returning home safely.