Natural disasters and traumatic events impact much more than just the physical environment. They can have a profound effect on the mental health and well-being of affected communities.
24/7 telephone services
There is 24/7 help available on the following numbers:
- Lifeline – Bushfire Recovery – 13 43 57
- Lifeline – 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636
- Mensline – 1300 789 978
- Advanced Personnel Management – 1800 276 113
- Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 (for children and young people aged 5 to 25)
- Suicide Call-Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Open Arms – 1800 011 046 (for current serving armed forces personnel, veterans and their families)
- Mental Health Line – 1800 011 511.
Note: Farmers and business owners in bushfire-affected areas can access Farm Gate counsellors and peer support workers on the Mental Health Line, 1800 011 511.
You can access mental health support by contacting your local:
- General Practitioner (GP) or Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation
- Recovery Centre or Evacuation Centre
- Mobile Service Centres
- Headspace Centre (for young people aged 12 to 25).
If you live in a bushfire-affected region, or were a first responder, emergency management employee or volunteer, you can access up to 10 free counselling sessions to support you through any immediate trauma or crisis. You can organise counselling sessions at:
Online services and resources
- Beyond Blue: Mental health support available 24/7 via online chat or email.
- Black Dog Institute: A free online clinic providing a mental health assessment tool and other support services.
- Community Trauma Toolkit: Resources to help adults and children before, during, and after a disaster or traumatic event.
- Headspace: Free and low cost mental health services for young people aged 12 to 25.
- Head to Health: This site can help you find digital mental health and wellbeing resources.
- Kids Helpline Webchat Counselling: A free, private, confidential webchat counselling service for children and young people aged 5 to 25. Kids can chat from 8am to midnight, 7 days a week.
- Rural Adversity Mental Health Program – Connects people living in regional, rural and remote NSW with local mental health services and resources.
- Rural Resilience Program – helping build resilience by linking rural communities, families and individuals with the most appropriate services and information.
Medicare rebates for treatment services
If you have been affected by bushfires, you can receive Medicare rebates for up to 10 face-to-face or telehealth mental health treatment services through eligible GPs, psychologists, occupational therapists and social workers.
You do not need a GP referral, diagnosed mental illness or mental health treatment plan to access these sessions.
Rebates are available from 17 January 2020 to 31 December 2021.
Primary Health Networks (PNH) in bushfire-affected regions are providing grants of up to $10,000 to strengthen social connectedness and peer support activities. Please contact your local PHN to discuss a bushfire recovery event.
Mental wellbeing for parents, teachers and carers
- Relationships Australia – support services for individuals, families and communities.
- ReachOut – tailored practical resources for carers, parents and teachers to help them support young people.
- Black Dog Institute – evidence-informed school resources, presentations and programs.
- Emerging Minds – online education resources for professionals who work with children and families to help them identify, assess and support children (0–12 years) at risk of mental health difficulties.
- The Brave Program – a free online psychological program for the treatment of childhood and adolescent anxiety with resources for parents and children.
- Child Protection Helpline – 132 111 – call if you are concerned that a child or young person is demonstrating suicidal or self-harming behaviours and their parent/carer is neglecting their mental health care.
- Mental Health Carers – has a range of supports for carers of people with a mental illness.
- SANE Australia – information about mental illness, treatments, where to go for support and help for carers.
- Carers Australia – short-term counselling and emotional and psychological support services for carers and their families.
WayAhead mental health services directory
The WayAhead Services Directory lists mental health and social service providers operating in your local area.
Enter your postcode at the WayAhead website to find services near you.