A low-intensity counselling service has started at Cessnock Youth Centre and Outreach Service as part of Lifeline's bushfire recovery program.
Lifeline received funding from the Primary Health Network to deliver the program in the Hunter, New England and Mid-Coast regions, with the Cessnock local government area among those earmarked for service delivery.
Lifeline's regional general manager Julie Wicks said the upcoming bushfire season could be a "trigger" for people who have been affected by previous bushfires.
"Cumulative trauma is very much a concern for this community," Ms Wicks said.
"Through partnering with locally available services, the Bushfire Recovery Service will work within effected communities to provide timely and appropriate intervention to assist with recovery."
Located at 49B Aberdare Road, the counselling service is free of charge, and no referral is required. Appointments can be made on 1300 152 854.
Lifeline community engagement coordinator Dean Bayliss said the new service has been well-received.
"I have been having some wonderful conversations with stakeholders in Cessnock that have welcomed the counselling service being made available to the Cessnock community that have been effected by bushfire," he said.
Mr Bayliss, with the support of local Lifeline peer worker Megan Son Hing, is building relationships with communities to build referrals, and developing local partnerships and linkages with key stakeholders and organisations to support integration of services around individual needs.
- For 24/7 crisis or suicide prevention support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
- Online crisis support chat is also available from 7pm-midnight (AEST) seven days a week at lifeline.org.au/crisischat.