More youth and general mental health services in fire areas

A District Council of Yankalilla vehicle in front of a property damaged by bushfire.

The Commonwealth will expand mental health services for young people living in 10 places affected by bush fires in South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria.

The Commonwealth is also providing additional funding to Primary Health Networks to support Headspace services in bushfire affected regions.

“Supporting the long term mental health of young people living in the hardest hit bushfire affected regions will become a key focus as communities begin the process of recovery,” Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck, said.

“Up to $300,000 will be provided to Headspaces located in Bairnsdale, Albury-Wodonga, Gosford, Penrith, Bega, Nowra, Queanbeyan, Lithgow, Victor Harbor and Mount Barker.”

The Commonwealth has also promised $4.4 million to fast-track the establishment of a new Headspace service in Batemans Bay in the Eurobodalla Local Government area in southern NSW, and upgrade its service to a full centre by late 2020.

Last week the Commonwealth Government announced $8 million to extend Beyond Blue’s “Be You” mental health in education program for schools and early learning services across bushfire zones.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on 12 January that the Commonwealth would provide $16m for specialist organisations to provide trauma care services to emergency services workers and their families.

The service is to ensure that workers and their families receive more intensive support to prevent and treat the effects of trauma, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both now and after the immediate fire threat has passed.

The Australian Government has also allocated $1 million for training for front line emergency service personnel in trauma-informed care and psychological first aid.

The Department of Human Services has a special bushfire page that lists information for people affected by bushfires in disaster-declared areas in NSW, VIC, SA, QLD and TAS.

Also, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency lists the latest information about recovery assistance.

Image: A District Council of Yankalilla vehicle in front of a property damaged by bush fire. Credit: Local Government Functional Support Group, Local Government Association of South Australia.