In response to the 10-year anniversary for the Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires, APMHA HealthCare Ltd. was commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services to contribute to the Bushfires of 2009 Community Support Committee and Project. This committee brought together a number of local stakeholders including local councils, agencies, service provider, and Alaya Partners.
Overall, the project funded a variety support options for the general community, with targeted resources available to emergency services and health professionals. APMHA HealthCare responded to this need through:
- Community resilience building through Mental Health First Aid education
- Bush fire Counselling Program
- Street Sweeps and Conversation Cafes to check in with the affected communities
- Education and resources for local health professionals
- Debriefing and counselling support at commemorative events
- Development of a self reflection activity workbook
- Central website to house resources, event and treatment optons
All activities undertaken during this commemorative period by APMHA were well received and appreciated. Feedback at all stages of this project informed and tailored the types of intervention, resources, and referral pathways ( including APMHA’s first self referral pathway). The project and committee successfully achieved its objectives, while also managing to capture and provide support to a number of community members. The activities conducted during this period also allowed the committee to support emergency service workers who had miss out on initial debriefing and access to psychological support.
Beyond the Bushfires provided a unique opportunity for APMHA to work within the local community and respond in real time through an innovative model of care.