Wollondilly mayor says fire-affected locals need more mental health support

Wollondilly mayor Matt Deeth. Picture: Chris Lane

Wollondilly mayor Matt Deeth. Picture: Chris Lane

Wollondilly mayor Matthew Deeth is concerned that bushfire-affected locals are not receiving the mental health support they need.

The state government has pledged more than $11 million to help people affected by fires statewide.

However, Cr Deeth said Wollondilly had not seen any of that money put into action.

"I think it's wonderful that the state government has allocated these resources, but we need to see these resources implemented," he said.

"This is all about getting the community back up on its feet. I know a lot of people are still hurt and in shock, so we need support on the ground as soon as possible.

"I'd love for these funds to be available tomorrow, but I know these things can take time - we just need some clarity on what needs to be done to get these funds flowing."

Wollondilly MP Nathaniel Smith said NSW Health services were part of the immediate response in bushfire-affected areas, with mental health staff available to provide advice and pathways to care for those who need specialist assistance.

"Plans are now underway for a local community information session to be conducted in conjunction with Wollondilly Council to focus on the mental wellbeing aspects of those affected by the bushfires," he said.

"Getting front line services to those in need is essential. I have spoken with mayor Deeth in relation to this matter."

However, Cr Deeth said he had no further details from Mr Smith on when or where this community information session would be held.

He said local support services like Community Links were ready and willing to get out there and support residents, but the additional funding would help.

"I've spoken to lots of locals who just want some support on the ground," he said.

"The phone services offered by the government are great, but sometimes people need basic intervention - someone to ask: 'are you okay?'."

Mr Smith said the NSW Government had bolstered bushfire-affected districts with extra teams of mental health clinicians in the aftermath of the extensive fires.

"The Bushfire Recovery Clinician Teams are flexible in nature and will be responsive to feedback if there is a need to move to other locations," he said.

"I have asked that be expedited to cover the Wollondilly area."

The federal government will also provide up to 10 free counselling sessions.

This story Wollondilly mayor says fire-affected locals need more mental health support first appeared on Wollondilly Advertiser.