Supporting children through disasters
Natural disasters, such as the bushfires currently affecting large parts of NSW, can have major emotional impacts on everyone who is affected either directly or indirectly.
Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable and may need support from their families and others assisting in the recovery process.
The resources below can be used to help you recognise what reactions can be expected from those affected by the fires, and the signs that indicate when you need to seek professional help.
If you do feel you need help for your child or yourself and your family, please talk to the local disaster workers in your area, your General Practitioner/Family Doctor, or if you feel it’s an emergency, go to your local hospital Emergency Department.
It’s important to remember that most people, including children and teenagers, are resilient and will recover with the help and support of those closest to them.
Information sheets for parents
These are provided in partnership with The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (USA) and the Trauma and Grief Network (Australia).
- Tips for parents on Media Coverage
- Tips for helping infants and toddlers after disasters
- Tips for helping preschool-aged children after disasters
- Tips for helping school-aged children after disasters
- Tips for helping adolescents after disasters
- Signs of possible trauma in children and adolescents
- Parent guidelines for helping children impacted by Wildfires
- Coping with unconfirmed death
- After a crisis: How young children heal
- Mental health supports for children, young people and families affected by bushfire
Information for health care providers
- Fact sheet for providers: trauma and families
- A guide for mental health providers: Family resilience and traumatic stress
- Tips for caregivers: Coping with unconfirmed death
Australian mental health support
- Bushfires can make kids scared and anxious: here are 5 steps to help them cope. The Conversation
- Managing exposure to bushfire smoke resources.
- Ten years beyond bushfires Report. Melbourne University
Department Head, Senior Staff Specialist Psychiatrist, The Sydney Children’s Hospital Network