Bushfire Recovery Wellbeing Service

Date published

01 May 2020

Throughout COVID-19, RFDS Victoria continues to deliver mental health and wellbeing to rural communities over the phone and via telehealth.

In Gippsland, this includes additional support delivered in partnership with Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) (through the Gippsland Primary Health Network) to communities affected by the extreme bushfire season.

Campbell Sinclair, RFDS Bushfire Recovery Mental Health Clinician is delivering services from Buchan and spoke to us about the importance of ongoing support for these communities.

“What happens roughly four months after a significant event like a bushfire, which is about now, is people start to come off the rush of dealing with those pressing and immediate concerns,” Campbell explains.

“People start to think about what happened and they start to miss things; they go to get the screwdriver in the shed and they don't have a shed anymore, or they go to get a favourite pot out of the cupboard and it’s gone. So there's got to be a re-understanding of what you've lost.”

Regional communities have already faced many challenges this year with drought, bushfires and now COVID-19. RFDS has adapted its services in response to this new challenge and is continuing to provide counselling to community members who are feeling stressed, worried and overwhelmed.

“People have had to isolate themselves on the farm and then the kids can't go to school. These are working farms, so there is a lot of pressure on the parents to keep the farm running and also educate and entertain the kids. So COVID-19 does add some challenges.”

Campbell says he wants people to know that Wellbeing services are continuing, and we’re here if you’re feeling worried, overwhelmed or just not like your usual self.

“We're here to support you, and help you get through it. We're not going to be there with a clipboard giving you a lecture. We're here to listen, to support you and to help you through this.”

The Bushfire Recovery service is funded by the Gippsland Primary Health Network, which is leading the mental health response to bushfire-affected areas of Gippsland.

RFDS Mental Health Clinician Campbell Sinclair

Pictured: RFDS Mental Health Clinician Campbell Sinclair