Warning of wildfire impact

The mental health needs of evacuees and health care professionals should be top priority after B.C.’s worst wildfire season.

B.C. Nurses’s Union is warning people of the psychological impact the experience of this past fire season is likely to have on people who lived through it.

“After traumatic experiences like we saw this summer, it’s common to see more cases of domestic abuse, alcohol and drug use and a variety of public health issues,” says BCNU Acting President Christine Sorensen.

In hopes of addressing important social needs such as housing, access to food and mental health care, BCNU donated $10,000 to the United Way’s BC Wildfire Recovery Fund.

“We have to also consider the health care professionals who worked under extremely stressful circumstances and are feeling the lasting impacts of the crisis firsthand,” said Sorensen.

The recovery phase can often be just as sensitive to handle as the disaster itself.

“Returning to some semblance of normal life and restoring hope for those affected by the wildfires is key to moving on from the trauma, anxiety and fear that accompany disaster,” said Danalee Baker, Executive Director of United Way.

BCNU and the United Way are encouraging anyone impact this summer to access mental health services.

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