A story from Wytaliba in New South Wales, reflecting life in August 2020
Paula* is a local women from Wytaliba impacted by the Black Summer bushfires.
The fires went through her property. Paula’s brick home remained standing, but the windows, doors, and outside structures were all burnt.
After the bushfires, Paula felt a sense of loss and grief, which she found increasingly difficult to overcome. In March, Paula began to feel as though she needed help in recovering from the fires and that counselling could be useful.
Paula heard about the 10 free counselling sessions funded by Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network (PHN) and provided by a local organisation.
PHN staff provided Paula with information on how to access the assistance and she has been attending sessions every three weeks or so. She has found that each session has helped her confidence and ability to communicate her concerns.
The bushfires were not the only reason that Paula reached out for help - other life events had challenged Paula, but the bushfires were a catalyst in triggering Paula’s decision to get seek assistance.
Paula has been grateful for the enthusiastic support that she has been offered and recommends the free counselling services to others.
For more information on the emotional and mental health support available for people affected by the bushfires visit www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/mental-health
*Name changed for privacy