Sydney, 20 February: As the physical rebuild continues across mainland Australia following one of the worst bushfire seasons on record - for many, the mental scars are only just emerging.
The toll of lost loved ones, homes, businesses, pets and livestock has left many communities reeling now that the bushfire emergency has eased. Much of the focus has rightly fallen onto the important work of rebuilding those houses and businesses to keep the communities alive. What often is missed is that while homes can be rebuilt, trauma can remain for a lifetime.
While emergency services and volunteers continue to work tirelessly in the clean up effort, resources must be deployed to people who are suffering and feeling the mental strain of the crisis. Australian citizens in the bushfire-affected areas are currently struggling to access the mental health support required at such a time. This is because the model of mental healthcare provision in Australia still primarily takes place in-person, reducing availability and driving up cost. For these affected communities, this effectively locks them out of one of the services they need the most to help rebuild their communities.
As such, Australia’s leading telehealth software platform Coviu has today announced an initiative to help those affected. As part of the initiative, Coviu has teamed up with over 30 clinicians across Australia who have pledged to support bushfire-affected communities by offering telehealth services which are fully bulk billed.
Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, CEO of Coviu, said that people living in affected communities could access the free service via the Online Doctor’s Directory.
“Like the rest of Australia, I’m deeply saddened by the devastating impacts of the recent bushfires on communities across Australia. It’s now critical that our country comes together to continue to support these communities - not just during and immediately after the devastation takes place. We know that it will take a long time to rebuild what’s been lost, and the ongoing trauma can have severe consequences for mental health. The next few months will be crucial in helping those affected be able to tackle the massive challenges ahead, and help them address the tragedies that have occurred.”
“Due to various circumstances, such as local clinicians being overworked, not having the right qualifications, and in some cases their own practices having burnt down, many communities are not able to access necessary healthcare support. We need to change this as quickly as possible. That's why we’re opening up access to free healthcare treatment via our Online Doctor’s Directory. This will include mental health support, as well as other services such as respiratory recovery,” concluded Dr Pfeiffer.
Doctors who want to help the Bushfire relief effort will be listed for free on the Directory for the duration of their no-gap service offering and can access Coviu’s telehealth software free of charge for 3 months.
Coviu is accessible via any smartphone, PC, and laptop, as long as you have a connection to the internet.