Mental Health: Help and Support

As wildlife sector volunteers we are ‘the helpers’, and we don’t often let ourselves be ‘the helped’. The recent bushfire crisis, flood crisis, COVID-19 and other natural crises have been an ongoing intense time for many, and the recovery ahead means we’ll be running a steady marathon. Seeking help to be in the strongest state we can be to continue caring for wildlife is important. It’s also pivotal to the people around us that we look after ourselves and the personal relationships that sustain connection.

Supporting the physical, mental and emotional wellness of the volunteers within the wildlife care sector is the founding basis of Two Green Threads. At a time when drought, fires and heat waves can overwhelm our ease of finding help, Two Green Threads has collated information from a range of sources about how to access mental health services.

There is free mental health support for everyone. There is no pressure to talk. but don’t let the reason not to talk be because you don’t know where to access help.

At a time when animals and their habitats are increasingly threatened, the volunteers of the wildlife care and rehabilitation sector play a key role in the future of wildlife and our planet — we need to care for ourselves and each other.

There are a range of options to find mental health support services in person, on line or by phone – click the options below to see more information:

Option 1 – if you need crisis support right now

Crisis call services

Other phone or online support services

  • Black Dog Institute National Emergency Worker Support Service – click here
  • Beyond Blue have created an online forum – click here
  • Beyond Blue also have an online web chat service – click here

Option 2 – Accessing a Psychologist

Always be aware that you have options as to who you choose to go to…

Speak with a local psychologist

Where can I find one?

Web pages which allow you to find psychologists in your area:

  • The largest professional body for psychologists is the Australian Psychological Society – click here. There is also a phone service to help find a local psychologist – call 1800 333 497.
  • Other associations include:
    • Association of Clinical Psychologists – click here
    • Australian Association of Psychologists Inc. – click here

The Federal Government has a website to help find local health services which is another way to learn more about local providers – click here

Do I have to pay?

Any persons needing access to mental health services are eligible for a mental health treatment plan which lets you claim up to 10 individual and 10 group sessions with a mental health professional each calendar year. The plan helps you access free or subsided sessions. Because health professionals set their own fees, Medicare may only cover some of the cost. For any mental health services, it is always best to double check about whether there is any cost, and how many times you can access the services for free. For sessions with psychologists or social workers, also ask if they will bulk bill the fee and whether there is any gap.

How do I get a mental health treatment plan?

Visit your doctor and be sure to book a longer appointment and say that you are interested in a mental health treatment plan. This way, you and your doctor will have enough time to discuss your mental health in depth.

Your doctor will assess your mental health to:

  • diagnose a mental health condition
  • determine if you would benefit from a mental health treatment plan
  • This assessment usually involves a questionnaire. Your doctor will:
  • ask you a few questions
  • fill in the mental health treatment plan
  • discuss your goals with you
  • provide a referral to a mental health professional

Access free government support by phone or web

As part of the federal government package, money for mental health services has been distributed to different geographical groupings around Australia, each representing a government health organisation called a Primary Health Network (PHN). Some already have a mental health phone service provider.

This map lets you work out which region/PHN you are located within.  We have made it simpler for you by going through the map, and checking all the contacts to ensure they work.  If your local area has a phone-in free counselling service, we’ve found it out for you, and put the details below for NSW, QLD, VIC and SA.  Your local Primary Health Network mental health support webpages are also included.

Please click your state ‘tab’ below to view the free support services in your area:

New South WalesPHN WebsitePhone Number
Central and Eastern Sydney 1300 170 554
Head to Health: 1800 595 212
Hunter New England and Central Coast 859 028
Murrumbidgee 800 944
Nepean Blue Mountains
North Coast to Health: 1800 595 212
Northern Sydney
South Eastern New South Wales to Health: 1800 595 212
South Western Sydney to Health: 1800 595 212
Western New South Wales
Western Sydney 8811 7100
Australian Capital TerritoryPHN Website
Australian Capital Territory to Health: 1800 595 212
Access Mental Health: 1800 629 354
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263
QueenslandPHN WebsitePhone Number
Brisbane North to Health: 1800 595 212
Brisbane South
Head to Health: 1800 595 212
Central Queensland, Wide Bay, Sunshine Coast Access: 1300 224 636 (non mental health care plan required)
Head to Health: 1800 595 212
MindSpot Clinic: 1800 614 434
SANE Australia: 1800 187 263
Darling Downs and West Moreton to Health: 1800 595 212
Gold Coast to Health: 1800 595 212
Northern Queensland to Wellbeing: 1300 020 390

Western Queensland to Health: 1800 595 212
South AustraliaPHN WebsitePhone Number
Adelaide (08) 8209 0700
Head to Health: 1800 595 212
Country South Australia 8406 7715
Northern TerritoryPHN WebsitePhone Number
Northern Territory
Western AustraliaPHN WebsitePhone Number
Perth North
Perth South
Country Western Australia to Health: 1800 595 212
TasmaniaPHN WebsitePhone Number
Tasmania to Health: 1800 595 212

Option 3 – Trauma Recovery Resource

Recovery Online

This ‘Recovery Online’ website focusing on trauma recovery provides excellent visual resources. It is video-based thoughts which can be a real help to understanding psychological trauma and are supported with toolkits provided across four themes; reclaiming life, managing emotions, connecting with others, and self-care.

At Two Green Threads, we found it very helpful to watch and consider the ‘reclaiming life’ after trauma video, as we have had such an extended and heightened level of stress and worry.   Similarly, the page which steps through trauma included ‘After a traumatic event, the world can feel unpredictable and unsafe’ really resonated with us.  Please share these widely with anyone that might draw strength from the advice they contain.

Click here to visit Recovery Online

“Getting help doesn’t mean that you’re weak, it means
you’re strong enough to admit that you’re tired of struggling.”

If Two Green Threads resonates with you, please share it amongst your network