I’m no scientist but it doesn’t take a genius to know that the world is pretty damn big. I mean, we have these insane, record breaking temperatures happening across Australia as we speak – some places have broken into the 50s. Then, our friends in America are experiencing some incredible, gob-smacking temperatures as low as -30 degrees! It’s absolute madness, and I find it difficult to comprehend two totally different extremes happening at the exact same time.
This got me thinking about the repercussions and damage that these extreme conditions can have on the land and people around us. I read an article the other day about the Black Saturday Bush fires back in 2009. One of the interviewees, Dr Gordon, was a psychologist working with the people in the towns affected by the fires. Usually, after a natural disaster like Black Saturday, approximately 10 percent of people will have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But, Dr Gordon said he expected about 30 percent of people affected by Black Saturday would have some kind of trauma disorder. And it wasn’t just PSTD affecting survivors. Depression was another mental illness likely to manifest the small towns, and not even half of the people who needed help would seek it.
I guess the main purpose of this post is to bring to light the repercussions that natural disasters like these have on people. With Australian producers and farmers contributing approximately 12 percent, or $155 billion to Australia’s GDP, there is a lot of pressure on farmers to pull through with the goods (National Farm Facts, 2011). Not only do they support a hefty sum of Australia’s GDP, each farmer provides enough food for 600 people. Throw in the added pressure of flooding, drought and natural causes, it can prove to be stressful and push people to the edge.
These fires tearing through Victoria and South Australia will burn through a lot of bushland and have an impact on so many more people than you realise. The drought happening across most of Australia is also affecting more people than you realise, and the polar vortex in the US will probably have the same impact on a totally different scale.
So remember, you could be talking to someone who has been affected by these natural disasters. Anxiety, depression and PTSD are all very real and if you or someone you know might have the symptoms of one of these mental illnesses, please seek advice from your doctor. If you don’t want to do that, maybe start with talking to a close friend or family member. For more information on symptoms, please visit Beyond Blue.
Things must be bad for the emus in Central Queensland, they’ve come into town looking for food in Longreach.
That’s all for this week, I’ll be looking at something a little more uplifting next time.