Communities impacted by the Black Summer Bushfires are considering how to engage with a new TV drama series and feature documentary based on the experiences of those challenging months.
‘Fires’ on ABC TV and iView and ‘The Fire Inside’, which opens in cinemas on Thursday, 7 October have been thoughtfully crafted but do present an emotional challenge for first responders and their communities.
“The trauma that can come with being involved in these real life events is deep and ongoing,” says Jae Lee, Psychologist and General Manager of Fortem Service Delivery.
“It’s wise to consider your level of engagement with media coverage and reporting of any traumatic event, these pictures and stories are powerful and do have the potential to deepen people’s hurt and grief.
“However, for some sharing the stories of this time is important and watching and talking about these productions with others can help people process their thoughts and feelings.
“There is no right or wrong answer, but it’s wise to stop and reflect on whether or not you watch these productions and make a conscious decision that’s right for you.
“These films will be there to watch in the future if you choose.
“Many in our first responder community are actively working on their mental fitness following our Black Summer and engaging with Fortem’s supports and services.
“Everyone has a different experience and comes to this in their own time and may or may not need the support of a mental health agency like Fortem.
“I’d encourage the community to keep talking with people they trust and if you find you need to speak to someone outside that inner circle, please reach out to one of the dedicated support services,’ Ms Lee says.
Support services include:
- Fortem Australia – 1300 33 95 94
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Black Dog Institute – (02) 9382 2991
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
Fortem Australia is funded by the Commonwealth Government to provide wellbeing and mental health services to first responders and their family members impacted by the 2019 – 2020 bushfire season.
To date we have connected with over 5,500 people and provided over 930 clinical sessions.
Fortem is hoping to be able to extend these supports through proposed new funding in 2022.