The College is deeply concerned for the many local communities, including those of our members, impacted by the catastrophic bushfire events devastating large areas of Australia.
These are unprecedented times with New South Wales (NSW) officially in a state of emergency, parts of Victoria declared a state of disaster, fire activity in South Australia and Western Australia, and Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) also under threat.
All of this comes on top of the destruction which ravaged Queensland and regions across mid and northern NSW through the latter part of last year.
‘We know there are psychiatrists living in, visiting and working across fire-affected areas who will be taking steps to prioritise their own personal safety and wellbeing as well as those of their communities,’ said RANZCP President, Associate Professor John Allan.
The College is committed to supporting any of our members experiencing difficulty and remind you to visit our support for members webpage for more information on the types of assistance available.
‘We thank those members who have engaged with the College about circumstances in their communities and how we might best respond to this crisis and provide appropriate support where needed,’ said Associate Professor Allan.
‘It is particularly important that people in our communities who are displaced or unable to access their usual mental health services have access to quality care in the interim.
‘I can also advise that there are efforts underway by the College to liaise with the relevant government departments and agencies in fire-affected states to ascertain how we can best support their emergency and recovery plans.’
The College recognises these terrible events have a link to the global climate emergency and will continue to work with others in further preparation against and response to not just bushfires, but other potentially disastrous events such as floods, drought and cyclones.
The College will continue to update you as more information emerges and our ongoing response develops.
See also RANZCP Position Statement 35 addressing the mental health impacts of natural disasters and climate change-related weather events.
For the latest bushfire information in your state, please refer to the respective NSW Rural Fire Service, VicEmergency, Queensland Government Fire and Emergency Services, South Australian Country Fire Service, ACT Emergency Services Agency, Tasmania Fire Service and EmergencyWA websites.
For all other more information, call Andy Newton on +61 (0)3 9601 4982 or +61 437 315 911, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.