Supporting children's recovery from bushfires: Stakeholders' views about the impact of a community-based intervention program on children

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: A multidisciplinary Bushfire Recovery Program was developed by Royal Far West focused on reducing the short- and medium-term impacts of the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia on children’s wellbeing and resilience. Objectives: To evaluate the impact of the Program’s psychosocial groups on children’s wellbeing and resilience. Design: A two-phase mixed method approach was used, involving post-intervention surveys and interviews of children impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia who participated in the Bushfire Recovery Program, their parents/carers, teachers, and the facilitators of the workshops. Statistical analysis was undertaken with quantitative data and content and thematic analysis of qualitative data. Findings: Children learnt to talk to and trust adults, share thoughts and experiences with others, recognise they were not alone in their experiences, build connections with peers, understand and manage feelings, and implement strategies that enabled them to cope with change. Discussion: Psychosocial groups delivered in preschools and schools as part of the Bushfire Recovery Program reportedly led to significant learning and positive impacts for children in the areas of coping, wellbeing, and peer connections. Similar themes occurred across surveys and interviews and findings reflected the perceptions of the children who participated in the groups, and key adults around the children. Conclusions: Community-based psychoeducational interventions can provide effective support in the short- and medium-term post-bushfire for children to develop strategies and skills to enable them to cope with changes and their emotional reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalThe Australian journal of rural health
Volume32
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024

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