“The 10-year anniversary of the 2009 Bushfires has been a particularly difficult time for the communities of Murrindindi Shire. This milestone meant different things to different people, but we all stand together on the other side of 7 February,” Cr McAulay said.
“On behalf of Council, I would like to congratulate the organisers of all the commemoration events and activities held around the Shire. Literally, hundreds of volunteer hours went into organising and running more than 50 events, often this was done by people who were feeling quite vulnerable themselves. These events were a really important opportunity for communities and groups to come together and reflect on their shared experiences, all that was lost and how far they have come since.
“I would like to take this chance to remind people that while the anniversary date has passed, support services will remain in place for some time yet. Our feelings rarely respond to timelines so if you’re feeling down or distressed, I really encourage you to use the free support services available.
“For confidential phone, Skype or face-to-face support, you can call the Australian Primary Mental Health Alliance on 1300 514 811. There is also the ‘Be Well in the Kinglake Ranges’ project, which offers free confidential counselling, psychological support and music therapy, you can find out more about this at www.kinglakeranges.com.au.
“Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need a shoulder to lean on – if there’s one thing we’ve learned from the 2009 Bushfires, it’s that we are all in this together,” Cr McAulay said.
* The Victorian Department of Human Services has a special guide for people struggling with their feelings around the 10th anniversary of the bushfires. Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636