A range of support services across bushfire-impacted communities are being made available by the Palaszczuk Government to help Queenslanders recover from the trauma and distress of this unfolding disaster.
Minister for Communities Coralee O’Rourke said the bushfires had damaged properties and temporarily displaced many local residents – and for some residents the affects were more severe.
“It can be extremely difficult and overwhelming to deal with losing your home or possessions, having to evacuate your home with often little notice and having to worry about whether your house has survived these blazes after you’ve left,” Mrs O’Rourke said.
“I want local residents to know that we’re here for the long haul to help them recover from these devastating bushfires.
“Residents in these bushfire-impacted communities are resilient, and we’re supporting them to boost their resilience further in the wake of these bushfires.
“The Australian Red Cross and UnitingCare Queensland (UCQ) have been providing psychological first aid and emotional support in the immediate aftermath of this disaster.
“This includes providing support at the evacuation centres, along with Queensland Health social workers who are working with people identified as having acute mental health needs.”
Mrs O’Rourke said 20 staff from the Australian Red Cross and UCQ were currently deployed into Yeppoon and Noosaville to offer support on the ground in these hard-hit areas.
“Since the Community Recovery hubs opened in Yeppoon and Noosaville, 392 instances of psychological first aid have been provided by our partner agencies – Red Cross, UCQ –Lifeline, Salvation Army and Queensland Mental Health,” she said.
“Outside of these areas, anyone who needs emotional support can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14, with the service available 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
“Our Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 can also refer people to the support and services they need for their recovery.
“It’s normal to experience a range of emotions–including feeling scared, stressed or overwhelmed–in times like this so don’t wait to ask for help.”
Mrs O’Rourke said previous bushfires had also compounded the effects of this latest disaster which can make recovery more difficult.
“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to the long-term recovery of impacted communities,” she said.
“For example, the Scenic Rim area was previously affected by bushfires and is under threat again.
“We have provided additional funding to local organisation Beaucare to enable them to provide emotional support at the Old School Site in Beechmont on Thursdays.
“We are also continuing to monitor other bushfire-affected local government areas to identify if any psychological support or counselling services are needed.”