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Community Recovery Session

People who were caught up in last month’s Bunkers Hill and district devastating fires, early last month, had the opportunity to meet with Dr David Younger, a Clinical Psychologist.

The community recovery session was held at the Haddon Recreation Centre last week.

Dr Younger runs a private practice and also works as a consultant in the emergency management area.

He said he spoke about 3 key affects that can touch people after going through something like a bushfire.

“The aim of talking about those key affects is to raise peoples’ awareness to the things they can do to preserve and promote their own health and wellbeing and avoid some of the pitfalls that we know come about further on down the track,” Dr Younger said.

He added that it was a typical community session, very casual, and included a barbeque dinner provided by the Rotary Club of Ballarat West.

“I presented the information but people were also able to interact on the way through and I was able to, afterwards and beforehand, talk to most people individually,” Dr Younger said.

“The key message that I try to emphasise is that people really work to not allow their lives to be overtaken by the recovery process.  Recovery is important – rebuilding homes, putting up fences etc, etc – but people really must leave time for the other things in your life in order to keep balance, otherwise more unhelpful side-affects usually do come further down the track.”

Dr Younger also said that community was an important factor for those going through recovery.

“What we do know is really, really important is support from within a community and community relationships.  We know that the strength and quality of relationships between community members in an affected community, is the strongest predictor of recovery,” he said.

At the height of the fire flames encircle Greenhalghs tannery, which somehow escaped major damage.
Photo Alan Marini