Shoalhaven News

Immediate mental health support for bushfire-hit communities

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An initial allocation of $76 million has been provided for mental health support in bushfire-hit communities.

The extra services are available immediately to firefighters, emergency personnel and individuals facing the fires and recovering in the aftermath, as part of an all of government approach to the bushfire recovery

The money will go towards funding counselling sessions, Medicare and tele-health consultations and more youth headspace services. Of this, $10.5 million is available so people can immediately access up to 10 free counselling sessions available at recovery centres, Service Australia centres, and existing local mental health centres in fire-affected regions.

Another $3.2 million will help deploy bushfire mental health response coordinators to fire-affected areas.

Anyone who needs immediate distress and trauma support can contact Services Australia on 180 22 66 or a local Primary Health Network at www.health.gov.au/phn

Anyone experiencing distress as a result of the fires can get immediate support through Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636, the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or the Government’s mental health portal www.headtohealth.gov.au