Bushfire counselling support
Our thoughts are with those impacted by the devastating fires in East Gippsland and across Victoria, including those who have lost loved ones and properties, and those working tirelessly to protect lives and communities.
Many of our own staff in Gippsland have also been impacted by the bushfires. We are working to support them, as they continue to support the broader communities across Gippsland and surrounding regions.
In times of crisis such as these, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed or to experience distressing feelings such as shock, anxiety, fear, grief, anger or sadness, even if you’re not directly impacted by the fires. Each person’s experiences and responses may be different, and the emotions that arise under these circumstances may be quite unexpected. It’s important that you take care of yourself and reach out for support when needed.
For some people, it can be helpful to talk to a counsellor about how they’re feeling. Some people may feel that they want to talk about what’s happened and how they’re managing immediately, while others may want support some weeks or months later.
If you’re impacted by the fires in East Gippsland and across Victoria, our counsellors are available to support you.
Counselling can provide a safe space to talk about your experience, including any overwhelming emotions you may be feeling, and can help you find ways to manage both your immediate and longer-term concerns such as supporting your children during and after the fires.
Free counselling support for East Gippsland and Wellington residents
If you live in East Gippsland or Wellington, we can provide free bushfire counselling support to you and your family. Trained counsellors and therapists are available to meet with you, by appointment, at our Traralgon centre or our office in Bairnsdale, which is based at Quantum Support Services, located at 306 Main Street.
We’re also offering our counselling service via telephone and video conference facilities, where practical.
One of our counsellors may also be able to visit you on your farm or at your business site, subject to location and counsellor availability.
To find out more and to make an appointment, call our Traralgon centre on (03) 5175 9500, or 1300 369 630 (Gippsland local call cost) or email us.
We’re open between 9am and 5pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and between 9am and 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday.
Our Traralgon centre can also provide a helpful list of the fire support organisations that are providing practical assistance and resources for fire affected communities.
Free support for young people
Young people aged 12-25 who are impacted by the bushfires can access free counselling and support through our headspace Bairnsdale centre. For more information, visit us at 171 Main Street, Bairnsdale, call 5141 6200 or email us.
Support across Victoria
If you live in an area outside of East Gippsland or Wellington, you can find your nearest Relationships Australia Victoria centre here.
If you need urgent help, the following organisations provide telephone and online support and are encouraging those impacted by the bushfires to reach out.
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
- Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
- MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78
A number of organisations have developed resources providing information and strategies on looking after your mental health during and after a crisis.
- Australian Psychological Society: Australian bushfires 2020: Psychological preparation and recovery
- Australian Red Cross: Looking after yourself and your family: Advice on managing distress
- Lifeline: Support in the event of a natural disaster
- headspace: For young people: How to cope with the stress of natural disasters