Mental health staff providing recovery assistance to fire affected communities

31 January 2020
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District mental health staff at the Ulladulla Recovery Centre.

Mental Health staff from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) are working together to provide psychological support to bushfire affected communities on the South Coast.

ISLHD Director Mental Health Julie Carter said Mental Health staff based in the Shoalhaven region were supporting the recovery efforts.  

“As many in our community are still coming to terms with the impacts of this devastating fire season, we’re here to support people through the recovery and help build community resilience” Ms Carter said. 

“We are so grateful that our colleagues from the Central Coast are lending a hand. Having additional staff on the ground gives us greater flexibility to respond to the emerging needs of our local community.”

Five staff from CCLHD including social workers, occupational therapists, counsellors and nurses joined ISLHD staff earlier this month and will be based on the South Coast for as long as required.  

Mental health staff based at the Ulladulla Recovery Centre have been providing psychological first aid, information on trauma responses and self-care, and facilitating access to other support services. The team has also been attending community recovery “pop-up” centres, and making home visits based on referrals. 

When students return to school next week the ISLHD Mental Health Service will be working alongside counsellors from the Department of Education to support students in the Shoalhaven area who may have been impacted by the bushfires.

“Anyone suffering as a result of the bushfires should reach out to the clinicians on the ground for support, who can be easily identified by their NSW Health fluorescent vests” said Ms Carter.

If you have been affected by the disaster, the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line is staffed with counselling support and can be accessed by phone on 1800 018 444. More help can be accessed via:

  • NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
  • Lifeline on 131114
  • Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636