The current Victorian bushfires have required a large operational response by Victoria Police employees. Like many major incidents, it can have a number of effects on health and wellbeing. The same event can affect people differently; one person might recover quickly, while another might experience enduring distress. Some people may experience strong emotional or physical reactions, or changes in their thinking and behaviour. Most people recover from trauma using their own coping strategies, combined with the support of those around them. For some people, the symptoms may last longer and be more severe, and they may need support services or professional help to recover.
It’s important to remember everyone’s journey through recovery is different, and for many, recovery remains an ongoing challenge. This is particularly true for those living and working in affected areas. For those who may have been involved in or impacted by previous fire events, such as Black Saturday, the current fires may cause a re-experiencing of previous symptoms or bring up upsetting memories.
The links included in the Wellbeing Support page offer a range of informative resources that can provide advice about impacts and reactions, how to help yourself or support loved ones, and when to seek further support. If you have any concerns about yourself or your police loved one, please contact the Victoria Police Wellbeing Services, or the services provided.