Esperance agencies rally with offers of support

Assistance: Natahna Stone from Graham Jacobs' office, South East Premium
Wheat Growers Association executive officer Niki Curtis, ESP psychology’s Helen Devenish and Department of Child Protection and Family Support team leader Lisa Devine are here to help.
Assistance: Natahna Stone from Graham Jacobs' office, South East Premium Wheat Growers Association executive officer Niki Curtis, ESP psychology’s Helen Devenish and Department of Child Protection and Family Support team leader Lisa Devine are here to help.

A group of Esperance mental health agencies have banded together to offer the Esperance community, especially those directly affected by the November bushfires, as much support as possible.

Centrecare - a WA Catholic not-for-profit community services organisation - is the lead agency driving the mental health support strategy in the region, which directs people to the right kind of support.

Centrecare team leader Richard Bishop said setting up a psychosocial model for emergency support was vital and most effective if all the mental health agencies in Esperance took an integrated approach and worked closely together to offer services.

"All our agencies should agree on one approach so as to not bombard victims with support, which would only serve to remind them of their suffering and losses," Mr Bishop said.

"It's about speaking the same language across agencies."

The right to self-determine the kind of recovery effort fire victims wanted to take was important, Mr Bishop said.

Registered psychologist Helen Devenish said Esperance Psychology and other mental health agencies had banded together in response to community members asking for a "easy to navigate" emergency support system.

"We wanted to create a one-stop-number that was easily advertised and accessed so that people weren't getting lost in the process of finding support," Ms Devenish said.

Esperance Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service fire captain Lonica Collins said the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) was providing programs to help volunteers with their recovery.

"There are peer support programs like the 'a mate helping a mate' program and 'People Sense' program, which will offer ongoing support for fire fighters from this week forward," Ms Collins said.

If you, or someone you know, has been affected by the bushfires in our community and require support, please call: 9083 2600

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