Free counselling sessions are available
Incidents such as that which has 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 declines 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. Counselling 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.
For further information about support available to communities affected by PFAS please contact Primary Health Network Executive Manager for Primary Care Improvement, John Baillie, phone 1300 859 028 or JBaillie@hneccphn.com.au