Counselling Australians in Tsunami Countries
24 January 2005 at 12:01 pm
One of Australia’s largest local youth charities – BoysTown – has found a way to help in the Tsunami crisis with international phone counselling for Australians in affected areas.
BoysTown has extended its free telephone service internationally to provide emotional support for those traumatised by the tsunami, including those working in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
Utilising the infrastructure and skilled staff of its Kids Help Line and Parentline services, counselling and debriefing are being provided free of charge via a dedicated global access number to those affected by the tsunami and its aftermath.
Kids Help Line’s General Manager, Wendy Reid, says that while its principal funder BoysTown was prepared to fund the cost of the operation over the next two months, it was hoped that this effort would also receive the support of the Federal Government and Optus.
Reid says their counsellors are highly trained in trauma counselling, grief counselling and critical incident debriefing to people of all ages, and are prepared to volunteer their time to ensure all calls from Australia and south-east Asia are answered.
She says January and February are traditionally a quiet time of year for Kids Help Line and Parentline with fewer calls from around Australia, so they have the capacity to respond without disrupting access to our normal services.
Calls can be made from people of any age who want to debrief about their experiences, whether they be family or friends, aid workers in the field, volunteers, journalists – indeed anyone who has been affected as a result of this devastation and the sights they have witnessed.
The freecall number for the Tsunami Help Line for Australian-based callers is
1800 501 361 and is available 24 hours a day.
The global free access number for callers from Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia will be available once the telecommunications infrastructure is in place.
Kids Help Line is a service of BoysTown with Optus as its major sponsor helping kids connect since 1999.