I was reading an interesting article published by the Sydney Morning Herald which states the Federal Government will inject $76 million into emergency mental health services for those communities which have been affected by the unprecedented Bush Fires in Australia.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pointed out that the widespread trauma which has been caused by this unfolding tragedy as the reason for this cash injection.
It states that the initial mental health funding will go to counselling sessions, extra psychological treatment under Medicare, expanded access to telehealth remote counselling, specialist trauma care for emergency services personal, local community wellbeing programs and Headspace youth Centres in signficantly impacted communities.
I believe this is a welcomed initiative on behalf of the PM, and I applaud him for it. The bush fires have been brutal on so many different communities, those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. This includes the personnel who have been to combat these fires, whether it is the CFA (Victorian Country Fire Authority) or the RFS (NSW Rural Fire Service) or any other emergency personnel.
I can see a heap of people who are going to be suffering from bad mental health, and I think there will be a massive increase in the number of sufferers affected by PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and Depression. While there will be other health-related issues that will occur, I feel this could be a ticking time bomb. Not many people can go through what they have had and not come out of it affected in one way or another.
I also welcome the Victorian Government plans to introduce $14.4 million to fund support co-ordinators to connect people with mental health support, financial counselling and other services. These people have been through enough, without having to navigate an increasingly tricky system. While I acknowledge that the government is trying to lessen the burden on these families, it remains that sometimes it’s not increasingly obvious where to go and with whom to talk to.
I’ve also heard that there is talk of a Bush Fire Royal Commission as well is set up to examine the entire situation and offer recommendations on how to best avoid a situation like this occurring again. While it’s not possible to eliminate all possibilities, hopefully, we can reduce those. Let’s also hope they also look into how to mitigate the after-effects of bush fires in the future, so we are prepared.