Support for People Affected by Bushfires

Bushfires can affect everyone in the community, not only people directly dealing with loss of property or possessions. The mental health and wellbeing of affected individuals and communities can be significantly impacted in the months and years after the fires. 

If you feel in need of mental health support there are services ready to help you through the difficult times. It is important that you look after yourself, family, neighbours and friends during and after a bushfire crisis and if required access mental health counselling.

Call 1300 160 339 Monday to Friday 8:30am – 5pm. Connect to Wellbeing can direct you to the right mental health information or service that best suits your needs. Services include:

Healthy Minds

Up to 10 distress and trauma counselling sessions are available for individuals, families and emergency services personnel either affected by bushfires or whose need for a mental health service was prompted by or significantly increased due to their exposure to bushfire. Counselling is with a mental health professional trained to support people through challenging times and is available in person or over the phone. There is no cost to the individual for these counselling sessions.
People accessing Healthy Minds don’t require a diagnosed mental health condition, GP referral or Mental Health Treatment Plan. The sessions are available until 30 June 2021.

Telehealth (phone or video consultation)

Up to 10 free telepsychology counselling sessions using your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Connect to Wellbeing, Healthy Minds and telehealth programs are funded by Healthy North Coast through their North Coast PHN Program.

Talk to your GP or contact a Medicare-registered mental health professional, such as a psychologist or mental health social worker, to access up to 10 counselling sessions for each calendar year – 2020 and 2021. 

Services are available for anyone whose mental health has been affected by bushfires and aren’t limited to people living in directly impacted areas. People can self-refer to a mental health professional and a Mental Health Treatment Plan is not required. Fees may apply. 

Contact your Local Health District to talk to a Bushfire Recovery health clinician for advice, support and coordination of your mental health needs arising from the bushfires. Services are free.

Northern NSW Local Health District:
02 6620 2100

Mid North Coast Local Health District:
Coffs Harbour 0412 582 986
Nambucca Valley 0477 365 642
Hastings/Macleay 0417 080 431

  • Mental Health Line 1800 011 511
  • Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
  • Lifeline Bushfire Recovery Line 13 43 57
  • Lifeline Text 0477 13 11 14
    6pm to midnight, 7 days 
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
    For children under 12 years 
  • Suicide Helpline 1300 651 251

In an emergency please call 000 or go to your nearest hospital.

Community Bushfire Grants

Applications for round two are now closed. Read More

Web-based Resources

Information and links to services

Find the right Australian digital mental health and wellbeing resources

Information and resources to help you cope after a bushfire

Practical and emotional support for people in bushfire affected areas

Resources including online forum for anonymous peer-based support

What you or others might experience after a crisis, and how to manage it

Resources for health practitioners, first responders & community

Support for young people aged 12 to 25 years

Mental health support for people who are culturally and linguistically diverse 

Helpful advice & practical strategies to support small children

Information, resources and training for professionals

Support for first responder families to proactively look after their wellbeing

Training and resources for workforce wellbeing

Support for emergency service workers

Upcoming mental health training for GPs in bushfire affected areas

Mental health resources and support for GPs and their patients

Help for GPs to manage patient mental health with the StepCare Service

Self-care strategies for health care professionals in drought and bushfire affected communities