Medicare Bushfire Response Initiative: Psychological Services available
Have you been affected by the 2019-20 Australian bushfires?
AUSTRALIAN BUSHFIRE RESPONSE: Psychological support for all Australians affected by the 2019-20 bushfires.
How has it affected mental health?
The Australian bushfires have caused an extreme impact on the mental health of millions of Australians across the country. Some have experienced the fires first-hand and others are experiencing the aftermath. Regardless, when daily-life normalities and routines are overturned it can cause intense confusion, fear and stress across the nation. When a person experiences these sudden changes of events, automatic responses of vivid thoughts, feelings and reactions arise that may require attentive support by close networks and health professionals in order to gradually rebuild their lives. It’s important to identify the extent of your own thoughts and feelings in order to indicate whether you are experiencing a somewhat common reaction or if it is causing a more serious trauma.
Signs of common reactions to crisis:
- Difficulty to focus and plan
- Questioning yourself and others’ actions when remembering difficult situations
- Replaying disturbing events and imagining other possible outcomes
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, tearful, anxious and unsteady
- Difficulties falling/staying asleep, worrying dreams
Signs of significant trauma and distress:
We highly recommend you speak with a mental health professional or GP if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Thoughts of suicide/self-harm
- Feelings of loss of self-worth and purpos
- Severe emotional distress and physical instability
- No longer able to continue with daily duties/routines due to extreme fear of experiencing memories in a similar situation
- Loss of care or interest in the life you see for your future
- Severe anxiety, jumping and being frightened easily, shaking, unable to relax
- Panicking out of nowhere, increased heart rate, short of breath and sweating
- Constant self-hatred, feelings of guilt
Medicare Bushfire Recovery Initiative: 10 x Counselling Sessions
The Australian Government has provided $76 million of financial support for mental health access to anyone who has been affected by the 2019-20 Australian bushfires until 31st December 2021.
You can now access up to 10 psychological sessions with the Medicare rebate without the need for a mental health treatment plan from your GP or other referral. This quick access allows us to provide immediate assistance to all involved including firefighters, emergency personnel and local residents and communities whom are impacted as the crisis continues.
How to access the Medicare benefit scheme:
Simply get in contact with us to arrange an appointment and advise our staff that you will be accessing the MBS bushfire response program either via Skype or in-person. You will need to ensure that you can provide your valid Medicare card details upon your initial consultation in order to claim the rebate. Please be aware that our normal concession/full rate fees will still apply upon each session which will be followed by you receiving the Medicare rebate of $126.50 per session.
These sessions are not restricted by location or age. Anyone is available to access these services via Skype/in-person and self-refer if their mental health has been affected by the bushfire disaster.
You do not need a Mental Health Care Plan or other referral from your GP, or a previously diagnosed mental health condition to access this service.
To access this service, you can self-identify as being affected by the bushfire crisis in order to request this service. Just simply get in contact with us to arrange psychological help for you or someone you know.
Visit the Department of Human Services website to find out more information:
If you would like to get in contact with us, please email or phone 07 5574 3888.
Acute Care Team: 1300 642 255
LifeLine: 13 11 14
BeyondBlue: 1300 22 4636
Men’s Line: 1300 78 99 78
In an emergency, call ambulance on 000 or attend to your local hospital emergency department whom have mental health teams who provide assessment and brief intervention in times of mental health crisis.
Australian 2020 bushfires