Mental Health Support for Those Affected by Bushfire

The Federal Government is providing some of the crucial mental health supports for those affected by the 2019-20 Australian bushfires. Supporting the Mental Health of Australians Affected by Bushfires measure will ensure people have access to the coordinated and tailored support they need to recover from the effects of the 2019–20 bushfires.

Bushfire recovery support

The National Bushfire Recovery Agency and Services Australia have launched a new website Recovery Connect. Recovery Connect links the public to the available bushfire recovery services in their area. People can search for different types of assistance they may need – be it financial, emotional, accommodation, environmental, physical health, food and household supplies or support for their animals. Recovery Connect is currently all about bushfire support and will be developed in the future to include other disaster recovery services, such as for COVID-19 and drought.

Victorian Bushfires Case Support Program

The Victorian Government is providing case support to people living in Gippsland and North East Victoria via the Victorian Bushfires Case Support Program.

The Program will provide a support coordinator who will be a single point of contact for those who need it, working with local residents to link them directly with vital supports such as information and advice, mental health support and financial counselling. Services will be delivered by Windermere and Gippsland Lakes Community Health in Gippsland, Gateway Health in Northern Victoria, and cohealth in other parts of the state. Windermere is also providing a statewide contact, advice and information service.

The Bushfire Case Support phone number is 1800 560 760 or click here for more information.

To access other bushfire mental health support services:

Visit your GP. Your GP can refer you to the most appropriate mental health services within the Better Access Scheme.

Digital Services. Digital health services can be used as an alternative to face-to-face therapies in times of need, or when and where convenient.

Primary Health Networks. Primary Health Networks can help you find person-centred health services near you as they commission and coordinate services in based on local community need.

Headspace . Headspace provides young people from 12 to 25 years old with free or low cost services to young people, their families and friends.

For more information about how to access bushfire support services:

Phone Australian Government disaster recovery assistance hotline on 180 22 66For more information about the Bushfire Recovery Access Program, please call the Public Health Information Hotline: 1800 004 599

Australian government support

Victorian government bushfire case support: 1800 560 760

24/7 Telephone services offering counselling and support:

Lifeline Australia 13 11 14  Lifeline is a crisis support service that provides short-term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe.

Kids Helpline 1800 551800  Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.

Beyond Blue 1300 224 636  Beyond Blue is available 24/7 by phone or online via chat or email, to provide support on a range of mental health issues.

Suicide Call-Back Service 1300 659 467  For anyone considering suicide, living with someone who is considering suicide, or bereaved by suicide, the Suicide Call Back Service is available.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 9978  Mens Line Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 011 046  Open Arms provides current serving armed forces personnel, veterans and their families with free and confidential counselling, group treatment programs, suicide prevention and community and peer network to support mental health and wellbeing.

Trauma information

Additional information for people with a NDIS plan:

Phone NDIS Contact Centre on 1800 800 110.

Bushfire information is available in Easy Read format on the NDIS website.  

A number of frequently asked questions and answers are also available on the NDIS website.