Nature may well have rejuvenated much of the Mid Coast's bushfire-scarred landscape, but restoring human mental wellbeing is a longer process.
To help aid the process, the Primary Health Network Hunter New England and Central Coast is partnering with CatholicCare's Counselling and Clinical Services team to deliver counselling services for bushfire victims, free of charge.
Feeling depressed, anxious and a loss of confidence or direction, are normal human responses to this kind of unpredictable hardship, Kelly Pavan is a psychologist and manager of Counselling and Clinical Services at CatholicCare said.
"Even vicarious trauma experienced through close friends or neighbours' losses, and exposure to the sombre media coverage at the time, can trigger underlying or past worries."
Counselling with a qualified professional from outside an individual's immediate support network can be useful to make sense of what has happened and plan a way to get back on track. The Bushfire Recovery Service will help identify vulnerable people affected by the disaster of the past summer.
"Improving the mental health and wellbeing of bushfire-impacted individuals collectively increases the resilience of affected communities and promotes linkages with broader health agencies," Kelly said.
"In establishing referral pathways and facilitating linkages with other relevant services, it provides the wellbeing and social assistance that best supports individuals and families."
The service is designed for individuals requiring mental healthcare who are unlikely to have their needs met solely through Medicare-subsidised mental health services. These individuals will be able to access up to 10 free, counselling sessions that focus on client-led goals.
The Bushfire Recovery Service will be delivered Taree, Forster, and Gloucester, and can work with whole families, or individuals of any age, who would benefit from support.
For enquiries about accessing this new service, contact the CatholicCare head office on 02 4979 1120 for more booking information.