Bushfire Recovery: Emotional First Aid

Through a generous donation from Marcus and Caroline Blackmore and the Blackmore Foundation, the Quest for Life Centre is able to provide the following services.

These 1 or 2-day workshops are for communities, organisations or anyone feeling the effects of stress due to bushfires, overwhelming grief, depression, loss or trauma.

The trauma wreaked by the terrible bushfires will have a long-lasting effect on all of us. Shock, fear and devastation often lead to anxiety, sleeplessness, anger, irritability and/or a hollowed-out feeling of grief. Quest is doing what we can to help.

These are early days in the recovery from the trauma many people have or are, experiencing. Emotional ‘first aid’ strategies are needed immediately, and then longer term resilience-building services over coming months.

Effects of prolonged stress

Exposure to prolonged stress triggers a cascade of hormones which

  • make the heart pound
  • our muscles tense
  • interfere with sleep
  • make us irritable, forgetful, distracted and anxious.

Hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline increase our fight, flight or freeze reaction – it’s our body’s way of preparing for dangerous situations.

Stressful situations activate our sympathetic nervous system which prepares us to either meet or flee danger. When the threat has passed, these hormones normally return to their usual resting levels, but when stress is prolonged over days or weeks, this response doesn’t easily switch ‘off’ – which allows our parasympathetic nervous system to counteract the stress hormones and settle and calm the body.

We can help the body switch ‘on’ its parasympathetic nervous system which acts like a balm to help calm the body down when danger has passed.

How Quest can help

Quest is offering workshops for communities affected by bushfires in two phases:

  • Phase 1 workshops deal with the immediate shock, fear, grief and anxiety
  • Phase 2 workshops help build resilience in people, families and communities. 

Phase 1 workshops: Emotional First Aid

To settle anxiety and stress and educate people how to reduce their own stress levels.

These workshops focus on providing 

  • one-to-one counselling
  • support groups
  • deep relaxation classes

Quest for Life’s experienced facilitators, psychologists and counsellors provide education, counselling and support.

Day and evening support and deep relaxation groups can be conducted in each area 3 or more times over several weeks, so that our teams build a trusted relationship with residents

Expected outcomes

When stress levels are reduced people

  • feel less angry, alone, anxious and agitated
  • sleep better
  • make better decisions
  • are less reactive – and more responsive
  • feel more connected to other people
  • memory, focus and concentration improve.

Phase 2 workshops: Resilience building in people, families and communities

Workshops providing support and education to build resilience in people, families and communities.

Workshop funding

Through a generous donation from Marcus and Caroline Blackmore, Quest for Life is providing a program of FREE Bushfire Recovery workshops for communities affected by bushfires in 2020. If you would like to speak to us about arranging or sponsoring a workshop for your community, please contact our General Manager Mary-Jane Wardrop or complete the form below and indicate in the Comments field:

  • Your community's or organisation's biggest challenge 
  • Other organisations that can help promote your workshop

Enquire about this workshop

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