Deep concern for communities facing catastrophic bushfires

12 November 2019

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) expresses deep concern for the communities devastated by fires burning in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (QLD).

‘As bushfires continue to burn across Australia’s east coast, our thoughts go out to all those affected by these horrible events’, said RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan.

‘With no immediate relief in sight, and with conditions expected to worsen today, we urge those living in fire-affected communities to take all necessary steps to prioritise their personal safety and wellbeing in this time of crisis.

‘Our deepest sympathies go to the families and loved ones of those who have tragically lost their lives and have been injured and impacted in so many other ways.

‘It is vital that those struggling in times like this reach out for the mental health care and community support they need,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

The RANZCP appreciates and acknowledges the hard work, bravery and actions of emergency workers, police, hospital staff, volunteers and other members of the public who are responding to these fires across both states.

‘With so many struggling with the sense of shock and despair at the devastation, we are also thankful for the strength, resilience and hope demonstrated daily by members of these communities.’

The RANZCP also urges governments and services to ensure that all those affected are provided with access to readily available resources and the mental health services they seek.

‘If in the coming days and weeks you find yourself having difficulty coping, it is important to speak to your General Practitioner who can refer you to a mental health professional for treatment,’ said Associate Professor Allan.

For more information, please see our list of mental health support services and refer to first steps to seek mental health support. 

For the latest updates on the bushfires in New South Wales, check the NSW RFS website.

For information on the bushfires in Queensland, check the QLD RFS website.

For all other expert mental health information visit Your Health in Mind, the RANZCP’s consumer health information website.