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The pain doesn’t stop when the fire goes out.

The pain doesn’t stop when the fire goes out.

Western Australian residents in the town of Esperance, where three people were killed and many homes lost are urged to seek mental health help after region’s bushfires, last week.

Mental health professionals are encouraging Esperance residents affected by the region’s devastating bushfires to seek help. Men are usually the last to ask for help.

Esperance Shire councillor Paul Griffiths said mental health was already a big problem in the rural area, with many people suffering in silence. This could really tip some of them over the edge,”

This call for help came from Councillor Griffith noting that the resources in Esperance are limited.

“We don’t have the resources down here to support people who are suffering.” He said.

Mr Griffiths said many residents were still “numb” after the inferno, but soon the knock-on effect would be felt.

Lifeline WA chief executive Fiona Kalaf said stigma was the main reason people suffering from mental illness did not seek help. She hoped the community would rally together to support those in need.

“I don’t want to stereotype, but a lot of those farmers would be male and older. We need to do a little bit of prodding to encourage them to seek help. And they can do that completely confidentially either online, over the phone or in person.” Using Lifeline WA: 13 11 14 or crisischat.lifelinewa.org.au

 

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Neil Bibby was Chief Executive Officer of the Country Fire Authority between 2002 and 2009 and Managing Director People and Innovation