Service throws a Lifeline

DUBBO residents are being encouraged to seek help from Lifeline, or join its volunteer ranks as natural disasters continue to take their toll on landscapes and emotions.

The charity's central west chief executive officer Alex Ferguson is promoting its telephone and online support services for people directly and indirectly affected by bushfires and flooding.

He also advises that Lifeline always needs more telephone crisis support volunteers, particularly during natural disasters "when so many people are vulnerable".

Lifeline Central West has offices in Dubbo, Orange and Bathurst.

Lifeline acknowledges that the victims of catastrophic events include people who are reminded of past trauma by the event.

"I encourage everyone across the country to call Lifeline's 24-hour telephone line on 13 11 14 or our Online Crisis Chat service, available 8pm to midnight, seven days a week and share your emotional distress with a trained crisis supporter," Bathurst-based Mr Ferguson said.

"You are all important and we want everyone to know that Lifeline is there when you need us."

The chief executive officer has directed potential volunteers to www.lifelinecentralwest.org.au for course details and applications.

"I would also like to thank all the Lifeline staff and volunteers working in the disaster-affected regions, many of whom may be facing losses themselves, whose on the ground support is an invaluable part of our national emergency response," Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson's comments follow those of Barwon State MP Kevin Humphries who at the height of last month's Coonabarabran fires acknowledged their impact on those affected.

Mr Humphries said increased levels of stress were likely and urged them to seek help if they found themselves not coping.

"Feelings of anxiety and distress are understandable and normal," he said.

For a self-help tool kit on dealing with natural disasters, and coping with loss and grief, go to www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/.

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