Bushfires, Social Connectedness and Mental Health

Project Details

Beyond Bushfires is a five-year study led by the University of Melbourne in partnership with a range of others, including community, government, emergency, and service agencies. This study is exploring the medium to long term impacts of the Victorian 2009 bushfires on individuals and communities. The communities selected for this study have a range of bushfire experiences from low impact to high impact. In order to understand these impacts, the study is collecting information in multiple ways including: surveys, interviews, focus groups and community visits (over the study period). The study will look at impacts on residents such as mental health, wellbeing and social relationships, within selected communities. There were just over 1,000 participants who completed surveys in 2012, who will be followed up again in 2014 and, depending on further funding, again in 2016. Over 2013 and 2014, in-depth interviews and focus groups will take place to explore participants' experiences over time and attitudes to place and community. The research team is also carrying out community visits throughout the whole study to share information with community members and gain a better understanding of local conditions and issues. This will help to direct the way the study is conducted locally and will also help to ensure the findings are accurate and have relevance to the communities involved.

Please visit www.beyondbushfires.org.au for further information.


  • Professor Elizabeth Waters
  • Professor Richard Bryant
  • Professor Philippa Pattison
  • Associate Professor Lisa Gibbs
  • Professor David Forbes
  • Associate Professor Louise Harms
  • Professor Colin MacDougall
  • Dr Dean Lusher
  • Dr Colin Gallagher
  • Dr Karen Block



LP100200164 ARC Linkage Grant

Research Outcomes

Beyond Bushfires Final Report 2016

Research Group

Trauma Recovery and Resilience Research Program

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Neuroscience & Mental Health

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre

Social Work

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