I’m just noting two of the findings from the Beyond Bushfires report:

“The major stressors that occurred after the fires, including loss of income, loss of accommodation and relationship breakdown, increased risk of poor mental heath outcomes.
People living alone were at higher risk of poor mental health outcomes but this risk was reduced for people who belonged to local community groups.”

We have noted both of these in our work with bushfire-affected communities and unfortunately, the loss of income has been exacerbated because of Covid. The main issues our counsellor is working with now is relational breakdown and people self-medicating. We have also noted higher risks in some communities because there are elderly people living alone on rural properties. Some have taken their lives since the fires. Online connection can help but with infrastructure damaged, people are having a hard time getting online.