Forging, protecting, and repairing community resilience informed by the 2019–2020 Australian bushfires

Sancia West, Denis C. Visentin, Amanda Neil, Rachel Kornhaber, Valerie Ingham, Michelle Cleary

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
102 Downloads (Pure)


Natural disasters are inherently traumatic. The unexpected, unpredictable, threatening, and overwhelming nature of these events can be destabilising and distressing, potentially leading to psychological trauma (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, 2014). Psychological trauma encompasses how people respond to physical and psychological events that involve actual or life‐threatening situations resulting in an intense fear of helplessness (Flannery, 2015). Yet, the experience of psychological trauma is not inevitable, and indeed much can be done to ‘trauma‐proof’ communities and the many emergency service personnel who respond to such events. The experience of a natural disaster, such as the 2018 Californian ‘wildfires’ and the ‘bushfires’ currently occurring in Australia, provides the knowledge and context to inform all future trauma‐related preparations and responses to disaster experiences. Our premise is that if effectively trained, prepared, and supported, communities can consolidate and reinforce community resilience and social capital during natural disasters. Communities which continually enhance their resilience will have reduced likelihood of experiencing trauma and/or lowered degree to which trauma is experienced, which increases their capacity to respond more positively to future events.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1095-1097
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Issue number5
Early online date27 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


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