Supporting individuals and communities affected by 2019-2020 bushfires
Country SA PHN’s role as part of the Australian Government’s comprehensive bushfire recovery package will be to provide immediate, short-term and medium-term mental health support for individuals, families and communities, including emergency services personnel, impacted by the 2019-2020 bushfires.
The Bushfire Recovery Access Program is aimed to support individuals and communities affected by the 2019-20 bushfires. CSAPHN is one of 12 PHNs funded to offer supports and services to targeted regions that have suffered severe damage and loss.
CSAPHN has commissioned local providers to ensure affected communities have access to the coordinated and tailored support to give people the best chance of full mental health recovery. We are committed to planning beyond the initial emergency and working towards the longer term recovery and wellbeing of our communities and regions.
For further information on the Bushfire Response program, please contact the Bushfire Response Coordinator.
Bushfire Response Coordinator
Australian Government’s Mental Health Support for Bushfire Affected Australians
Those awarded grants for 2020
For all grant enquiries please contact us.
Immediate counselling for those suffering bushfire related trauma
CSAPHN has commissioned local established service providers to provide immediate counselling and other mental health services to support the needs of people experiencing distress or trauma as a result of the South Australian bushfires, including emergency response personnel.
These services will be:
Frontline Distress and Trauma Counselling
Mental health support for young people
Expansion of headspace services to meet the increased demand for young people aged 12-25 impacted by bushfires and support for parents to ensure they know how to support children. Additional clinical supports are now available in the Adelaide Hills and Kangaroo Island via telephone, screen to screen and or face to face.
Self-referrals are welcome or can be provided by a GP, school and or other service providers (No Mental Health Treatment Plan is required). CSAPHN also continues to fund Regional Access which provides 24/7 non-emergency counselling services for people in rural settings, particularly those affected by the bushfires non-emergencies.
A tribute to resilience and community spirit on Kangaroo Island, 2020.
Helping communities recover from bushfires
'Together We Can’ is a project supported by Moorundi Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Service (MACCHS) through Country SA PHN Federal Bushfire funding.
The project provides the students of Kangaroo Island Community Education (KICE) the opportunity to come together to connect, share and continue healing through writing and performing original songs based on their own personal stories of the 2019-2020 bushfires and ongoing recovery.
Under the guidance of Pete and Kerry from STAMP Music who worked closely with Diana, Georgie and Ros from MACCHS and Maxine and her staff at KICE, the students have been able to put into words their incredibly challenging and unique lived experiences of the bushfires and COVID-19. Country SA PHN is proud to be able to support grass roots community based initiatives such as this. Listen to the End of Year Christmas Event here.
Watch the video about the Together We Can project
Helping communities recover from bushfires
The Anzac Day Resilience Concert at the fire-affected Western Districts Community Club was a wonderful way of bringing together community, talented locals and a band who has the Anzac spirit.
Getting together as an island community to celebrate their successes over the last 15 months since faced with such adversity and be proud of the achievements of many in the community hard-hit with bushfires and COVID-19. It was a night to forget any problems, take a break from clean up & rebuild and let their hair down.
Watch the video of the Kangaroo Island ANZAC DAY - Resilience concert
Mt Barker headspace
Victor Harbor headspace
10 mental health treatment services for the bushfire affected
From 17 January, you will be able to get Medicare benefits for up to 10 mental health treatment services if:
To make it as simple and fast as possible to access the new items, individuals do not need to have a GP referral or mental health treatment plan, but can seek appointments directly with suitable GPs, psychologists, and other eligible mental health professionals.
Sessions are available until 31 December 2021. They are in addition to the 10 psychological therapy sessions currently available under the existing Better Access Program.
Find out more about this initiative.
Better Access Bushfire Recovery Telehealth Initiative
The new Bushfire Recovery and telehealth Medicare items will apply to all Australians, including children, young people, adults, seniors, and frontline emergency personnel who were residents of, working in, or visiting a bushfire affected region.
The expanded telehealth Initiative will allow people in rural and remote areas affected by bushfires to receive Medicare rebated counselling and psychological support through video telehealth services. This will also allow eligible GPs to deliver mental health and wellbeing support via telehealth.
Visit the Services Australia for up-to-date information.
Government support provided to those affected by bushfires
Services can be accessed from now until 31 December 2021
Free counselling for the bushfire affected
For patients wanting to know how they can access the free counselling in bushfire affected communities (without the need for a referral or mental health plan), there are several avenues:
Commonwealth funded Community wellbeing and participation funding is being used to increase the delivery of non-clinical supports in fire affected communities based on the needs of the local regions. In order to effectively determine these needs, Country SA PHN has worked collaboratively with local government, National Bushfire Recovery Agency, Non-Government Organisations and Bushfire Recovery Groups to identify non-clinical, community-based activities to support mental health and community wellbeing.
Community Resilience Officer (CRO) positions have been recruited across all four bushfire impacted locations to deliver these community driven, co-designed projects:
Adelaide Hills ‘Community Resilience and Readiness Program’ - Located at Adelaide Hills Council
Kangaroo Island ‘KI - From Recovery to Community’ - Located at Junction Australia (Kangaroo Island)
Keilira (South East) ‘Recovery Starts Here’ - located Kingston Council
Yorke Peninsula ‘Developing a Disaster Resilience in the YP Communities’ - located SYP Hub (auspice by Yorke Peninsula Council)
Each respective project will focus on psychological preparation and community resilience building with the aim to reduce or positively influence the potential mental and emotional impacts of future natural disasters and traumas.
Key roles of the CRO’s are , but not limited to;
For further information please contact the Community Resilience Officers located in the following locations:
Miranda Hampton and Sue Thomas
Kate Martin and Katie Hughes
Please see our helpful resources below. If you still have questions, feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phoenix Australia have developed a range of resources informed by best practice to support health practitioners, first responders and community members after the bushfires.
Information, resources and training for professionals who support individuals and communities experiencing the mental health impacts of disasters.
Doctors’ Health SA is a not-for-profit, independent and profession-controlled organisation dedicated to improving the health of doctors and medical students for the good of the community.
Focuses on empowering everyone to live the most mentally healthy life possible and also has information on suicide prevention.
The Australian Government is working with the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia to upskill pharmacists and pharmacy support staff in the area of Mental Health training in bushfire-affected areas.
Find resources on how to look after physical and mental health after a natural disaster.
Need support? Contact our Bushfire Response Coordinator
Trauma-related training for general practice staff
Trauma-related training for the emergency services