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Connecting the community after a crisis

Care Services Community Stories

In January 2020, bushfires ravaged the NSW South Coast. With the largest aged care presence in the region, IRT faced a catastrophic bushfire threat across seven sites. In this series of stories, we celebrate the courage, resilience and leadership of our employees, who kept our centres operating and our residents safe.

13 February 2020
IRT registered psychologist Julie Strinic at IRT Dalmeny. (Credit: Andy Zakeli)

Julie Strinic works in the Work Health and Safety team at IRT Group’s Market St headquarters in Wollongong. As a registered psychologist, she put her hand up to help counsel IRT staff who experienced the NSW South Coast bushfires.

Julie Strinic: “Some people lost their properties and a lot of people were displaced due to evacuation. People felt lost. They were very emotional, which is completely normal. When people are struggling with life’s every day challenges, they are going to be less resilient when a major traumatic event comes along. I started by making sure people were aware of what community services they could access and also IRT’s EAP (employee assistance program). These are small towns so people are very connected. When a tragedy happens, a lot of people know the family. We call that vicarious trauma. I talked to people about what they can do in these circumstances and how they can begin adjusting to normal life again. People are struggling. But they are incredibly strong.”

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