Black Saturday - 10 year anniversary

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It is difficult to believe that Black Saturday was 10 years ago and yet for many people the impacts are still present in everyday life. It is common for people after a traumatic event to feel the need or pressure to “move on”, “start over”, “move forward” and yet what we know that traumatic events can have a long term impact on our health, mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Anniversary dates in particular can be overwhelming and can produce strong emotional responses that can be confusing and unpleasant. The months leading up to the date of the event in which the trauma occurred can produce a decline in normal functioning and an increase in PTSD symptoms. Strong emotions can be triggered consciously or unconsciously by our senses, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch. Much of this is unconscious and can be difficult to understand.

Post-Traumatic Stress is exactly as it described; experiencing intense emotions, physical symptoms and stress long after the event has passed. The symptoms of PTSD are:-

  1. Physical pain – headaches, chest pain, dizziness, fatigue, stomach and digestive issues
  2. Nightmares or flashbacks
  3. Depression and/or anxiety – low mood, easily startled, paranoia
  4. Withdrawal – from family and friends and no longer being interested in activities previously enjoyed
  5. Avoidance of any situations that might remind you of the situation or event
  6. Repression: Not allowing yourself to think about the event, distracting yourself by being overly busy
  7. Emotional numbing – Removing yourself from social circles, using distraction, alcohol or other drugs, over or under eating, watching too much TV so as not to think and feel
  8. Hyper-arousal – Experiencing difficulty relaxing due to the fear of threats, experiencing anxiety in situations where there is no real danger but reminds you of the event, being on edge, jumpy or easily frightened. Having difficulty sleeping or relaxing.
  9. Irritability – This constant state of fear and paranoia can cause associated irritability, indecisiveness, total lack of concentration, sleeplessness and difficult maintain personal relationships.

Healesville Hospital and Yarra Valley Health offer a free counselling service with qualified and experienced counsellors to support you as the anniversary of Black Saturday approaches.


Please contact Counselling Intake on 1300 130 381 for an appointment

Media contact: Ashlea O’Hea – 9895 4879