Australian Fires

Counsellors-Canteen

Hi Canteen Connect community!

We wanted to acknowledge the bushfires burning around Australia at the moment, and check in with you to see how you’re being impacted. These kind of events can feel really overwhelming, unpredictable and out of control. We're aware that for lots of families here, the fires are happening/have happened in your local towns, and/or around the people that are important to you... at a time when life is already complicated by cancer.

Here’s some ideas for dealing with the bushfires.

Practical tips:

·    Check that you and your family have an up to date bushfire survival plan. You can read more about these here: https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/plan-and-prepare/bush-fire-survival-plan

·     Keep up to date with where the movement of the fires using more reliable sources such as news outlets, radio, television and apps like ‘RFS Fires Near Me’ (NSW only). Not everything you read on social media has been fact-checked and could be untrue.

·     There are tips that can help support your physical health, some as simple as staying indoors. Check in with your hospital/GP team if needed. More generally, read more about managing exposure to smoke here :https://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2019-11-19/bushfire-smoke-health-managing-risks/11699894

·    Learn more about climate activism by following Greta Thunberg and School Strike for Climate on social media. Learn more about environmental sustainability and the ‘zero waste’ lifestyle too. You might even want to start/join a club at your school or university.

Coping with feelings: 

·    Make sure you are taking care of yourself with how much you’re reading/watching about the fires. We have access to so much information thanks to technology, but sometimes we need to take a step back, have a break and focus on other things so we don’t become too overwhelmed! Headspace have written about the kind of feelings that might be coming up at the moment: https://headspace.org.au/young-people/how-to-cope-with-the-stress-of-natural-disasters/

·    Kids Helpline are available 24/7 via phone, webchat and email if you want to talk to a counsellor about the impact of the fires.

When these kind of things happen, I think of this quote from Fred Rogers: ‘When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers-so many caring people in this world.’ We’d like to acknowledge all the brave people around the country who are responding to the fires in all sorts of ways.

Let us know your thoughts and if you have any other tips for coping with the fires. Please take care and stay safe.