Hope Rises From the Ewingar Ashes

When Nadine Myers thinks back on the past few months, she gets a lump in her throat.

Nadine is part of the organising committee for the ‘Ewingar Rising’ bushfire fundraiser. When bushfires came through the area last October, two people died, more than 20 homes were destroyed and thousands of hectares burned.

In the aftermath of the fire, the Ewingar community southwest of Casino banded together to help their own. They planned and hosted a three-day benefit concert in November headlined by singer-songwriter Tex Perkins.

“We feel very proud of what we’ve done,” Nadine said. “We really did work our butts off, but to be honest, I think a lot of us needed that to focus on and take us away from all the stuff that was happening that was bringing us down.”

The fundraiser was a triumph in the face of massive adversity. Twenty bands performed and sponsors helped to cover expenses. The event raised more than $50,000. The money will go to those in the community who need it most.

“There were people there who had lost everything, and just to see their faces lit up and grinning from ear to ear for that whole weekend was better than anything money could buy,” Nadine said.

Many will remember the challenges of 2019 and the emotional rollercoaster that accompanied the fires, but out of those challenges have also come positives and a wonderful sense of achievement.

“It’s been incredibly overwhelming and soul destroying, this whole period,” Nadine said. “The distraction of doing this project and then seeing it come through better than we ever expected; we found ourselves in a completely different space because we realised that together we can achieve anything.”

The stress of experiencing a bushfire can leave people at a higher risk of developing depression or anxiety, even if they are not directly dealing with loss of property and/or possessions.

There are things you can do to take care of yourself and your mental health.

Call the Connect To Wellbeing service and be directed to the right information or service that best suits your needs. In-person or over the phone services include:

  • NewAccess: Free early intervention mental health coaching for persons 16 years and over.
  • Healthy Minds: Free counselling program with mental health professionals trained to support people through challenging times.

Call 1300 160 339, Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5pm.

For immediate mental health support contact:

  • 24hr Mental Health Line — 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline — 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue — 1300 22 4636
  • For children under 12 years: Kids Helpline — 1800 551 800

In an emergency, please call 000 or visit your nearest hospital emergency department.

Pictured: Nadine Myers, holding flyer, with the Ewingar Rising organising committee.

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