The NSW Mental Health Commission joins others in thanking the volunteers and emergency services who are fighting fires and assisting people in distress across NSW.
Our thoughts are with the resilient communities and people who have been impacted by the current bushfire emergency.
Bushfires impact more than the physical environment and can have a serious impact on the mental health and wellbeing of people and communities.
We acknowledge the distress and loss people are experiencing now and over the coming weeks.
If you are in distress and need support, please reach out for help to those around you, GPs or other health supports. Disaster Welfare Services at the Evacuation Centres across the state can also help. For assistance call the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line 1800 018 444.
Free counselling and additional supports
- Free counselling is available. See the Department of Human Services for more information or visit your nearest recovery centre, evacuation centre, mobile services centre or primary health network mental health services.
- Contact Services Australia on 180 22 66 to either speak with a social worker or find out how to locate and access support in your community.
Disaster and trauma resources
- The NSW Ministry of Health has helpful information for communities and services affected by disaster.
- RUOK? also have ideas on how to talk with or help people who might be struggling because of the bushfires.
- Beyond Blue have online information about mental health and bushfires as well as an online forum about coping with bushfires.
- Lifeline have a dedicated bushfire recovery helpline 13 43 57 and have also developed some helpful strategies to support your mental health and wellbeing as you recover from a natural disaster.
- The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP), which operates across rural and remote NSW, has coordinators in fire affected areas working directly with communities, providing on the ground support, connecting people to support and assistance and visiting evacuation centres daily. To contact your local RAMHP Coordinator go to the RAMHP website and type in your postcode.
- One Door Mental Health have some NSW Bushfire resources including information on financial assistance, accommodation and trauma.
- The Australian Psychological Society has information about psychological preparation and recovery during the bushfires.
- People in the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW affected by fires can book in for free face-to-face Healthy Minds counselling service and do not need a referral from a GP. There is also the NewAccess program that has been developed by Beyond Blue. NewAccess provides a free and confidential support service to help people tackle day-to-day pressures.
- ifarmwell has online resources and information for farmers about what to do in a crisis
- More mental health resources are available on the Life in Mind website.
For families and young people
- The NSW Department of Education has tips for parents and students on their website.
- ReachOut Australia has online resources to support young people and their parents affected by the bushfires.
- Headspace has online resources for young people.
- Phoenix Australia have an online resource for parents who want to help their children after trauma.
- Emerging Minds also have a toolkit with resources to help and support adults and children before, during, and after a disaster or traumatic event.
- The Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service have an interactive website with games and stories for children to help them work through scary experiences.
- Early Connections has a social learning tool with safe information for children with autism.
- The Office of Emergency Management has practical information for emergency and recovery assistance.
- Service NSW can assist with services and information on accommodation, charitable services, mental health and wellbeing services, business support, clean-up services, financial assistance, insurance and legal support, replacing lost ID and volunteer payments. Call 13 77 88 between 7am and 7pm to talk with a customer care specialist.
- People with Disability have put together a list of resources, including where to find a bed and help with tenancies.
- Red Cross has grants for people who are recovering from the bushfires.
- The Australian Tax Office has tax assistance for people impacted by the recent bushfires.
- Small businesses will be particularly affected by the bushfires and the Small Business Commissioner has useful information on their website. See this page also for information on financial assistance.
- The Department of Human Services has information on financial assistance for individuals.
- The National Bushfire Recovery Agency will oversee recovery efforts over the next two years. View fact sheets about the recovery efforts on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.
Alternatively, you can contact one of the following numbers:
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636