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Counsellors are here to help

Amy Bromley wants the community to know they aren't alone.
Amy Bromley wants the community to know they aren't alone. Jacob Wilson

PEOPLE who lost their homes and are struggling to make ends meet in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie often feel like they have no-one to turn to.

However, the message from counsellors who are working around the clock with back-to-back community sessions across the Whitsundays is that they aren't alone.

While primarily funded to support people experiencing domestic violence, Whitsunday Counselling and Support has found flexibility to de-brief those going through hardship post-cyclone Debbie.

Whitsunday Counselling and Support counsellor Amy Bromley said while people normally relied on friends and family to help them through difficult times, it was important for them to know there were always other people to help.

"We are seeing a lot of people who have really lost their normal support, when people bounce back they usually turn to support networks but when hit hard it's difficult to turn to family and friends who have also been affected," she said.

"People are feeling completely overwhelmed and are struggling to face the day, people have had houses destroyed, belongings gone and people have lost businesses and are having to sell everything they can to pay off bills.

"They don't know where they will be one week from the next."

Sybella Health counsellor Christine Franklin said while tensions were high in the community, it was important to be patient while the community continued to heal.

"We have to remind ourselves that we are resilient and we can cope but it might take a bit longer than initially imagined," she said.

"It's important for us to be patient with ourselves and each other, when we leave our home to engage with others we have to remember we might be engaging with someone who lost everything."

While many in the community are suffering from high levels of stress, Ms Franklin said it was important to avoid habits which could exacerbate the problem.

"In times of stress and crisis people are turning to less healthy ways of coping like alcohol and that will only fuel things like violence," she said.

"I would encourage people to find healthy ways to manage stress - exercise, eat well and socialise and have a good support system."

Ms Franklin said her counselling services were available free of charge.

Whitsunday Psychology counsellor Suzanne Carmichael has also offered free counselling services to the region shortly after Cyclone Debbie hit.

Whitsunday Counselling and Support can be contacted at 4946 2999 and are now at their new location at the Business Centre on 121 Shute Harbour Road Cannonvale, next to Whitsunday Ultrasound.

Topics:  counselling cyclone debbie whitsunday counselling and support whitsundays


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