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First Published Thursday, 2 April 2009


Bushfire Appeal Pic

Following the devastating Australian bushfires of February 2009, occupational therapists and health professionals will be in a central position to contribute to the well-being of children and their families affected by their traumatic experience. An editorial in the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal published by Wiley-Blackwell describes the important issues that health professionals have to consider when identifying and treating clients experiencing a range of post-traumatic difficulties.


Red Cross assisting families

“Children of all ages are particularly vulnerable as disasters like bushfires can have a profound effect on their developmental trajectories and their social relationships. The children affected by the Victorian bushfires have an even greater potential for adverse outcomes – as a result of their degree of exposure to the death of loved ones in traumatic circumstances, as well as the losses they’ve endured with regards to their schools and communities”, said Editor Dr. Elspeth Macdonald from the Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network (ACATLGN) and Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University.


The severity of the disaster directly relates to the likelihood of psychological distress felt by the victims. Although post-disaster morbidity may decline over time and onset of psychological problems may be delayed, the effects of the initial disaster exposure and losses are likely to persist for several years at least.


Occupational therapists and other health professionals can contribute to the well-being of these children not just by specialist services, but also through avenues such as school programs and supporting families to accept referrals for mental health interventions.


Australian Bushfires

“Mental Health Needs Post-Disaster: Supporting Recovery of Children and Families”
Australian Occupational Therapy Journal (Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 79-80).


Source:   http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/144543.php



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