Thankless and unrecognised nature:
Most people working in recovery do not do it for the thanks, however without positive feedback in some form, their involvement is personally depleting. For many, the role can be thankless and their contribution under-valued. There are many people who have a vital role to play in supporting communities but their input is not recognised, despite the fact that the responsibilities and complexities of their role have multiplied, and they are exposed to others' accounts of distress and anger.
Likewise those from outside the community who have a genuine desire to be responsive and supportive are often met with distrust and hostility for their efforts, due to negative encounters locals have experienced with other 'outsiders'. In stark contrast to the accolades, which are often associated with the emergency response phase, heart-felt efforts to support and assist the community during the recovery phase may be met with antagonism, frustration, or go unnoticed. Unless they've had the opportunity to develop an understanding of the typical processes involved in community recovery, having their efforts met with ill-feeling is contrary to what may be expected.
And many did not actively sign up for a role in recovery—finding their pre-existing role morphing to include new recovery facets and responsibilities. Further, despite best efforts and acutely aware of public scrutiny, the reality is that whatever decisions are made, they are likely to upset half the community.
There are a lot of people supporting in lots of different ways. They are not in obvious recovery roles and so are not recognised. It is like a pebble in a pond. We focus on one ring but other rings and people in those roles are affected by the ripples too. Kate Riddell – Firefoxes
You are talking to a resident about one thing and after a while you realise you are not talking about that at all, but what it meant and felt like, their anger and frustration, culture, community and identity. You suddenly think, "whoa, I thought I was helping. What happened here?" You are helping people and get anger and frustration in return. Anon – New York, U.S.
People are often unprepared for the level of anger they experience from the community. They are expecting gratitude and are horrified. "Hang on a minute, why do people hate me?" Greg Ireton – Advisor, Victorian Government
We are not expecting anything special from them in terms of thanks, but we don't know how to deal with their anger and their feelings. Nobuko Kamata – Japan
Community work is not considered to be important. It is not taken seriously. The skills involved need to be taken seriously and recognised as a skill, career and specialist area. Sylvia Thomas - COGA, Kinglake