Victims urged to seek aid

NSW MINISTER for Mental Health Kevin Humphries is acknowledging people do not have to be in the thick of this summer's devastating bushfires to feel their ill-effects.

He is also certain the mental health response to "a natural disaster of this scale" is just as important as emergency and organisational support.

Mr Humphries is urging victims of bushfires and the people who care about them to seek help if they are feeling increased levels of stress and trauma.

The minister is warning that untreated distress can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

"The sheer scale of the damage caused by this disaster will have a profound effect on many people and may lead to increased demand for mental health services," Mr Humphries said.

"Feelings of anxiety and distress are an understandable and normal response to the current situation and may be related to being directly at risk from the bushfires, being concerned about family and friends, or being worried about the impact on the local community.

"It is vital people remember they are not alone and that there is help available should they need it."

Mr Humphries said immediate support was available through community and government outlets.

He recommended calling the State Mental Health Telephone Access Line on 1800 011 511; Lifeline on 13 11 14; Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978; the Alcohol and Drug Information Service on 1800 422 599; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800 and the NSW Rural Mental Health Support Line on 1800 201 123.

In an emergency call triple-0.

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