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Mental health in the wake of a catastrophe

When catastrophe strikes, it can be easy to feel like it’s all too much. We all naturally have different thresholds for chaos, danger, and stress, and when nearing those thresholds, it’s imperative that we band together and prioritise our mental health. 

In the wake of the horrific bushfires that have torn across our country over the last few months, and with the now pervasive concern around coronavirus, there has been a lot to process and a lot to worry about for many of us; a lot more than would be usual for such a short frame of time. A lot of what we feel is completely normal, and – in fact – healthy, for example, fear is there to help us make safe decisions and protect ourselves. However, when these feelings cross out of the realm of being ‘normal’ or ‘common’ reactions to a situation, event, or experience, it’s vital we seek additional help. Beyond Blue have shared a lot of useful information – specifically written for the context of the Australian bushfires – that helps to guide you through what is ‘common’ and what is more serious. Click here to read their update.

Good mental health requires consistent small efforts; journaling or meditation are very popular mindful activities that help to improve your mental health and give you a feeling of release. HeadspaceCalmEvenflow, and Insight Timer are a few examples of apps that have different guided meditations, sounds, and activities to help you reset and find a moment of peace; allowing you to feel grounded and strong and alleviating some of the harder feelings of stress and sadness. 

Seeking support by talking and sharing can also greatly support your recovery and improve your wellbeing; this support doesn’t need to be formal by way of a psychologist or counsellor, opening up to loved ones, friends, family, or others with shared experiences, can provide a great deal of solace. If you have concerns about your wellbeing, or if you don’t feel comfortable opening up to anyone in your familial or social circle, visit your GP or book in to see a psychologist. The Australian Government offer a care plan called a Mental Health Care Plan, which helps to identify the support you need, make a treatment plan, and can make you eligible for financial support. Click here to find out more, or make an appointment with your GP to discuss. 

At Premier Health Partners, we are proud to have a team that is so supportive and dedicated to your wellbeing; we have two fantastic GPs who are available to help you through any tough times. 

Click the links below to find out more about our GPs or to book an appointment online.

Dr Jane Habib

Dr Alan Underwood

Finally, below are a list of resources that may be helpful, specifically if you or someone you know has been affected by the bushfires. 

Beyond Blue – Bushfires and Mental Health

Bushfire Information and Support – Australian Government Mental Health Response to Bushfire Trauma (health.gov.au) 

Information for Australians who have been affected by the bushfires (health.gov.au)

Mental Health Support for Australians Affected by the 2019-20 Bushfires (health.gov.au) 


We have added some further resources that may be helpful for yourself or anyone you know who is having a hard time, especially in the context of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Mental health in the age of the coronavirus – UN News

Looking after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak – Beyond Blue

Mental Health and Wellbeing During the Coronavirus Outbreak – Lifeline

Coronavirus Health Advice – Australian Government

About Coronavirus – Department of Health and Human Services, Victoria 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mental Health Support – Life in Mind

Mental Health and COVID-19, Information and Resources – Mental Health America

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