Mental health services and support
It's normal for a traumatic event to affect people emotionally. Even if not directly affected by the 2019-20 bushfires, these events can trigger memories and emotions related to previous traumatic experiences. This could happen weeks, months or even years afterwards.
Murray PHN has funded APMHA HealthCare to provide counselling services, advice and service options to people in our region affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.
Call the free Bushfire Counselling Line on 1300 514 811, between 9am-6pm Monday to Friday for support. If you need urgent support outside of these hours call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
The services offered by APMHA HealthCare are:
- free of charge, offering up to 10 mental health counselling sessions to individuals, families and emergency personnel affected by bushfires
- delivered by appropriately highly skilled, qualified and credentialed clinicians
- available to individuals in locations most impacted by the bushfires, including through telehealth and recovery hubs
- provided on an outreach basis in the short to medium term, to ensure access by communities most impacted by the bushfires.
Note: all services are still available during COVID-19 restrictions.
Youth mental health
Murray PHN has funded the expansion of headspace services in Albury/Wodonga, including Wangaratta - via phone, video or face-to-face - to meet increased demand for young people aged 12-25 and their parents, who have been impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires.
- Self-referral, GP, school and or other service providers referrals are accepted, and no Mental Health Treatment Plans are required. Contact headspace Albury Wodonga t: 02 6055 9555 or e: headspaceAW@gatewayhealth.org.au
Tips from headspace:
- headspace: How young people can cope with the stress of natural disasters
- headspace: How family and friends can support a child after a natural disaster
Murray PHN has funded Gateway Health to provide children’s counselling to those affected by bushfires. The Parenting after Bushfires program is also available to help parents support children dealing with the emotional impacts of the bushfires. Call Gateway Health for more information t: 02 6022 8888.
Resources for parents:
- Parentline 13 22 89
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- UNICEF Australia: How to talk to your children about Australia's bushfire emergency
- Pheonix Australia: Joel and the storm, a story for children who have experienced trauma
- Australian Psychological Society: Looking after children who are anxious about bushfire season
Other counselling services and support options available:
- Albury Wodonga Mental Health Triage Service - available for residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for mental health triage, assessment and referral call 1300 104 211
- Family and Domestic Violence call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732)
- NURSE-ON-CALL 1300 60 60 24 for expert health information and advice 24/7
- Australian Psychological Society Referral Service 1800 333 497
- HeadtoHelp: Free mental health support for anyone affected by COVID-19, 1800 595 212
- Talk it Out: 24/7 phone and online counselling for people 15 years and older living or working in the Murray PHN region 1300 022 946
- Mensline: Phone and online counselling 1300 789 978
- Lifeline: 24/7 crisis support 13 11 14
- Black Dog Institute Bush Fire Support Service provides free mental health support for emergency service workers and their partners affected by bushfires
- Q Life: LGBTI peer telephone and webchat support 1800 184 527
- Suicide Call Back Service: 24/7 phone and online counselling for people affected by suicide 1300 659 467
General mental health information and resources
- Information about mental health supports and how to access these in fire affected communities can be found on the Human Services website
- Black Dog Institute integrates research studies, education programs, digital tools and apps, and clinical services for people of all ages
- Emerging Minds: Community Trauma Toolkit
- Beyondblue: Bushfires and mental health
- Beyondblue: Looking after yourself after a disaster
- Betterhealth Channel: Trauma - reaction and recovery
Resources for health professionals
- The Bouverie Centre: Guidelines for trauma-informed family sensitive practice in adult health services
- Australian Family Physician Vol 42, No 9: Early response to psychological trauma and what GPs can do
- Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Treatment of Acute Stress Disorder, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex PTSD
- AAPM: administrative support for practices that have been affected by bushfires
- Murray HealthPathways: information on the assessment and management of medical conditions, including local referral information - note you must be registered and logged in to access.