The fires might be out, but the rebuilding effort has just begun, and for many people, the emotional pain is just bubbling below the surface.
(left to right) Lifeline Chairman John Brogden, PAYCE Foundation Director Dominic Sullivan, NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and PAYCE Foundation Director James Boyd.
Since the bushfire crisis began in December last year, Lifeline calls have increased by over 10 per cent.
Lifeline believes the distress and trauma will continue for years to come.
Lifeline Chairman John Brogden said the helpline will directly assist people in bushfire affected areas with traditional suicide and crisis support, along with connections to recovery services.
PAYCE Foundation Director James Boyd said it was critical to support people suffering following Australia’s largest bushfire crisis.
“The Foundation has a strong focus on mental health, and we were looking at the best way we could assist now and into the future,’’ Mr Boyd said.
“The physical damage will repair but it is important we help to repair the mental and emotional damage from this devastating natural disaster.
“A dedicated recovery line which also connects people with the right support services fitted the bill perfectly.”
Among those on the front line was NSW Minister and Member for Bega, Andrew Constance, who almost lost his house.