Mental trauma worsens for Black Saturday survivors

Mental trauma worsens for Black Saturday survivors

26 June 2010

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Australia — Support groups for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires say the worst signs of mental trauma are just starting to emerge.

It has been almost 17 months since the fires swept through Victorian towns, killing 173 people and destroying more than 2,000 homes.

Many survivors are experiencing their second winter in temporary housing, which for some includes outdoor showers and toilets.

Bill Gale from the Kinglake Ranges Community Recovery Committee says the mental health of many survivors is deteriorating.

“A lot of people, whilst they were busy immediately after the fires, are now finding things to be very difficult and some of our businesses are suffering as well,” he said.

“All the literature and research indicates that years two to four [after] are the worst in regards to mental health.

“That’s in fact what we’re starting to experience now.”

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