Voluntary Blood Testing Program and Mental Health Support for PFAS

Voluntary Blood Testing Program previously available for eligible individuals as part of the Australian Government’s Community Support Packages for those impacted by PFAS contamination around the Williamtown, Oakey and Katherine Investigation Areas ceased on 30 June 2019.

One of the mental health support services, free telephone and online counselling support Service, Support Now, that is available to current or past residents of the three communities will ceased on 30 June 2019.

To support the communities of Williamtown, Oakey and Katherine, the Australian Government has also funded dedicated mental health and counselling services. People seeking support in these communities should continue to contact their GP or HNECC PHN Primary Health Network on 1300 859 028 who can refer them to an appropriate mental health and counselling service in their region. Individuals can also access the digital mental health gateway, Head to Health, which helps connect Australians to information, advice, and free or low-cost phone and online mental health services and support.

Free counselling sessions are available

Incidents such as those that have occurred in Williamtown, can trigger a wide variety of responses over time including anger, anxiety, fear, sadness and confusion.   There is no wrong or right way to respond to things like this, and all these responses are perfectly normal when faced with major life stressors.   It is important to remember though, that prolonged exposure to stress and these types of feelings associated with it, can have a long term negative affect on both your physical and mental health.   We know that strong social connections and communities go a long way in supporting health and wellbeing in difficult times. When entire communities are affected by high levels of stress, individuals can feel isolated and unable to rely on their traditional supports due to not wanting to add to the stress of others. A combination of prolonged stress and isolation can result in a decline in your physical and mental health and wellbeing.

HNECC PHN has commissioned free and confidential counselling services, using our network of private providers, specifically to support the needs of current and past residents and community members of the affected Williamtown area. These services are private and the PHN does not collect any personal information regarding participants accessing these services other than basic unidentifiable, demographic data.  Patients do not have to have had a blood test to access these free counselling sessions.

Whilst we encourage eligible people to engage with their GP in the referral process to this service, community members are free to self-refer directly to our private providers.   This service is available to anyone affected by the Williamtown PFAS incident whether they currently live in the area or not. Providers are available at times that suit you to provide free confidential counselling across the Hunter, New England or Central Coast regions.  

A list of the contracted mental health providers is attached to the Resources section on this page. If you now reside out of these areas, please contact the PHN and we can arrange a private provider in your preferred location.


 

 

 

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