Bushfire Response Program

Support for schools and early learning services affected by bushfires.
Two young people holding hands

What the Bushfire Response Program offers

The Bushfire Response Program provides targeted mental health support to schools and early learning services affected by bushfires across Australia.

Informed by placed-based and community-led principles, the Program empowers bushfire-affected communities to lead their own recovery.

The Bushfire Response Program offers schools and early learning services a package of support comprising four primary elements: Contact Liaison Officers, trauma support and guidance, recovery planning and community support service mapping. 

The Bushfire Response Resource Pack provides information related to mental health and wellbeing for schools and early learning services affected by bushfires.

The Bushfire Response Program is led by Beyond Blue in partnership with Early Childhood Australia, headspace and Emerging Minds.

What the Bushfire Response Program offers

Contact Liaison Officers 

Contact Liaison Officers (CLOs) work closely with individual learning communities to identify their needs and provide guidance on wellbeing support and services that suit those needs. CLOs provide support that is tailored to the local context and needs of each individual learning community, with a focus on recovery planning and resilience-building activities.

Trauma support and guidance

Schools and early learning services will have access to trauma support and guidance, both online and face-to-face.

This support includes events designed to help with with understanding some of the impacts of disaster, and how to lessen those impacts. Trauma support and guidance is based on the Emerging Minds Community Trauma Toolkit, which aims to provide educators and families with skills and knowledge to support themselves and others before, during, and after a disaster or traumatic event.

A project team from Emerging manages and oversees the events. Event presenters are a combination of Emerging Minds staff, CLOs and guest speakers.

Recovery planning

CLOs work with schools and early learning services to support the development of a recovery plan. Individually tailored, a recovery plan maps out and identifies short, medium and long-term activities to support recovery and promote resilience in each learning community. This program allows for up to 18 months of support, but many plans will extend well beyond this period to allow for long-term recovery in communities.

Community support service mapping

Due to the largely state-based response to the bushfire crisis, supports and services available to each region and community varies. Navigating the service sector has been a key challenge for many schools and early learning services. The community support service maps will act as a quick reference guide outlining wellbeing and other recovery services for children and young people in the local area.

How to find out more

If you would like to find out more – or think your learning community might benefit from this Program – send us a message via our Contact page and a Contact Liaison Officer will be in touch.