Coronavirus Support Information and Resources

Our community is experiencing difficult times as the coronavirus (COVID-19) affects our daily lives. We know in times like these that Bethany’s support services are as vital as ever – and we are here to support you.

Whilst some of our services are now delivered online or over the phone during this period, our commitment to support our community is as strong as ever.

That’s why we recently launched our new BETHANY COVID-19 SUPPORT line – an easy pathway for individuals and families to talk to one of our experienced staff members to seek support and advice in times of need.

Find out more information below about our BETHANY COVID-19 SUPPORT line, as well as other useful information we’ve gathered to help our community navigate through this period of uncertainty.

Bethany COVID-19 Support Line

The impacts of COVID-19 can be devastating.  Sudden loss of income and jobs, social distancing, working from home and daily messaging in the media can increase your levels of stress and anxiety.  It can turn your whole life upside down.

The Bethany COVID-19 Support Line has been established to support people living in the Geelong and Warrnambool areas.  You can call for support with issues such as:

  • Anxiety & stress impacting upon individuals, couples, children & families
  • Financial stress and wellbeing including provision of emergency financial relief
  • Parenting
  • Relationship Issues
  • Social Isolation
  • Gambling Related Harm

Bethany COVID-19 Support Line counsellors will listen to you, provide support, advice and helpful strategies as well as guide you to other services that might be useful for your particular situation. It’s completely okay to call – no problem is too big or small.

Bethany Community Support has been operating for more than 150 years and believe that every person, whatever their background, circumstances and life stage deserves a fair go. Our dedicated team of professional staff and volunteers are passionate about providing safe, high-quality support and development services to all members of the community at critical points in their lives.

If you need someone to talk to, call 1300 655 598, Monday-Friday, 10am-3pm.

Bethany Services during COVID-19

The health and wellbeing of our staff and the individuals and families who we support are always our number one priority.

During COVID-19, Bethany’s commitment to support our community has not waivered, and we have adapted the delivery of our services to fit social distancing practices and to ensure we all stay safe.

Our community services are now provided in multiple platforms:

  • Over the phone – through phone calls or text messages;
  • Online via video conference or video calls – we use safe and secure video platforms to make sure your privacy is upheld;
  • In person – with strict precautions in place to manage the safety and well-being of each person.

We are still here to provide:

 

*Services only available from our Geelong office

To access Bethany’s services in the Geelong region, please phone (03) 5278 8122.

To access Bethany’s services in the Warrnambool, Portland or Horsham region, please phone 1300 510 439.

 If you are in an emergency or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000

Disability Services

Bethany’s occupational therapists and speech pathologists are continuing the safe and high quality support of children, adults and families in south west Victoria.

Our community is experiencing difficult times as COVID-19 affects our daily lives. We know in times like these our services might be needed more than ever. 

As a registered NDIS provider, Bethany Community Support has a team of occupational therapists and speech pathologists specialists who can help with the NDIS journey.

We support NDIS participants aged 7 to 65 years to work towards their own individual goals.

Family Violence Support

With more people staying at home to reduce the community spread of COVID-19, combined with the additional pressures of possible job loss or incomes, there is unfortunately an increased risk for women and children experiencing family violence or abuse at this time.

It is important for anyone experiencing family violence to know that family violence is never ok, no matter the circumstances or situation.  Victoria Police has indicated that their family violence response will not change as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For some people, home is not the safest place and we know it may be more difficult to reach out during the COVID-19 crisis.

If you are concerned, or need support, the below services offer free and confidential services.

  • Call police on 000 in an emergency
  • Contact The Orange Door: 1800 312 820 (people of any age, gender, sexuality, culture and ability are welcome) 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday except public holidays
  • Contact SAFE STEPS: 1800 015 188 If you are a woman or women with children experiencing family violence and you are in need of immediate help. This is a Statewide service and operates 24 hour, 7 days a week.

 

Barwon Orange Door

Bethany offers free service for adults, children and young people who are experiencing or have experienced family violence.

Phone: 1800 312 820

Website: https://orangedoor.vic.gov.au/what-is-the-orange-door#heading1

 

Safe Steps

Victorian Family Violence Response Centre for women, young people and children experiencing family violence.

 Phone: 1800 015 188

Website: https://www.safesteps.org.au/

 

1800Respect 

National sexual assault, domestic and family violence telephone and online counselling.

Phone: 1800 737 732

Website: https://www.1800respect.org.au/

Food Relief Services in Geelong

Putting dinner on the table, a healthy breakfast for your children – food access is a huge challenge in our community and the demand for food relief has become even more apparent as a result of COVID-19 impacts. 

 In the Geelong region, there are many organisations providing food parcels, food pantries or vouchers to people in need, and if you or someone you know is experiencing hardship, FeedGeelong have compiled a useful guide on where, when and how you can access emergency food assistance. The full list can be accessed here

Government Assistance during COVID-19

The Australian Government is acting decisively in the national interest to support individuals, families, households, businesses and the community.

COVIDSafe App

The COVIDSafe app is part of the governments work to slow the spread of COVID-19 and it speeds up contacting people exposed to COVID-19. This helps health officials support and protect you, your family and friends.

The app is available from the Apple App Store and Google Play. Find out more here

Early Childhood Education and Care Relief Packages

The Australian Government announced that from Monday 6 April 2020 weekly payments will be made directly to early childhood education and care services in lieu of the Child Care Subsidy and the Additional Child Care Subsidy, to help them keep their doors open and employees in their jobs.

Find out more here

Emergency Relief Packages

As we enter unpredictable times with many Victorians losing their jobs, struggling to access food, demand for food relief is on the rise.  Foodbank Victoria, working with the Victorian Government and Australian Red Cross to ensure isolated Victorians, who have limited access to food and support from friends or family, get the essential items they need to get through these upredictable times.

Find out more here

Financial

The Federal Government’s wage subsidy plan will help people who have seen their income fall because of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • JobSeeker payment: Financial help if you’re between 22 and Age Pension age and looking for work. Eligible people can access $1,110 a fortnight.
  • JobKeeper payment: will help businesses to keep people in their jobs so they can earn an income, even if their hours have been cut. Eligible businesses can access $1,500 a fortnight for 6 months to keep paying eligible employees. The JobKeeper payment is also available to people who are self-employed.

Find out more here

Head to Health

If you’re trying to improve your own mental health, or support somebody else with mental health issues, Head to Health provides links to trusted Australian online and phone supports, resources and treatment options.

Find out more here

Rent Relief Grants 

If you are experiencing rental hardship due to COVID-19, you may be eligible for assistance.

The package provides a one off grant to help Victorian renters maintain safe, secure and stable accommodation.

The grant will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria to eligible tenants who:

  1. have negotiated a rental reduction with their landlord or real estate agent and lodged that agreement with Consumer Affairs Victoria 
  2. have undertaken a dispute resolution or meditation process with Consumer Affairs Victoria

Find out more here

Superannuation

The Government is allowing individuals affected by the Coronavirus to access up to $10,000 of their superannuation in 2019-20 and a further $10,000 in 2020-21. Individuals will not need to pay tax on amounts released and the money they withdraw will not affect Centrelink or Veterans’ Affairs payments.

Find out more here

OTHER SERVICES:

 Barwon Water

Barwon Water are providing relief for families and individuals. There are a wide range of easy-to-access programs and support services that can help ease the pressure and stress for people having difficulty paying their bill.

Customers can receive relief with concession card discounts, access to government relief and rebate schemes, payment extensions and payment plans and referral to financial counselling.

Learn more here 

Money Smart

This website that has some great information and resources for all things financial…

COVID-19 financial assistance
Government payments and support available to help you

Accessing your super
Consider all your options before applying to access your super

Living on a reduced income
Practical steps to manage your spending and bills

Problems paying your mortgage
Your bank or lender’s financial hardship team can help

COVID-19 super scams
Watch out for cold-call offers to help you access super

Mortgage repayments 

A number of banks have announced assistance for people with home loans, including deferring mortgage repayments.

Please contact your bank directly to find out more.

Government Updates

To ensure that our ongoing response is relevant we are closely following all advice received from the below organisations regarding precautions that are needed to minimise risks associated with COVID-19.

The Australian Government – Department of Health
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert

The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services              
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus
https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus-covid-19-daily-update

The Victorian Department of Education and Training                      
https://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/department/Pages/coronavirus.aspx

World Health Organization 
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

Housing and Tenancy Support

New temporary laws exist to protect Victorian tenants, landlords and the rental market from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. New rules include rent relief for eligible tenants, suspension of rental increases, eviction, land tax reductions and deferrals for landlords. 

Find out more here

Barwon Community Legal

Provide free legal advice and assistance by phone for private tenants who are behind in their rent or at risk of being evicted. Supporting Geelong, Bellarine Peninsula, Surfcoast and Colac Otway regions. 

Consumer Affairs

The Victorian Government has recently announced rent relief grants for Victorians experiencing rental hardships. Find out if you are eligible here

Diversitat- Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program

The program provides advice and assistance in relation to private residential tenancy matters in the Barwon region. 

Tenancy Assistance and Advocacy Program

Community agencies funded to provide TAAP services help Victorian tenants dealing with issues in a private tenancy agreement to avoid homelessness. 

Tenants Victoria

Provides a COVID-19 guide for renters, information, advice and legal representation to promote and protect the rights of Victorians who rent their homes. 

LGBTI+ support and resources

At Bethany we celebrate diversity and innovation. We embrace creating a connected organisation which enables all service users, employees, students, contractors, and volunteers to feel safe from discrimination. We support an inclusive environment where people of all genders and ages, people living with a disability, First Nations people and people from LGBTI and CALD communities feel empowered to contribute their experiences and ideas; knowing that these will be valued.

We have undergone QIP accreditation against the Rainbow Tick Standards which demonstrates Bethany’s commitment to delivering safe and inclusive services for LGBTI people.

The current situation is understandably causing stress and uncertainty throughout all our communities.Within this, LGBTI+ communities are likely to experience poorer mental health and higher rates of suicide.

Accessing available health and community support services during COVID-19 is more important than ever for LGBTI+ communities.

Thorne Harbour Health has launched a Rainbow Connection service to provide additional social connection and support services to LGBTI+ people across Victoria who are isolated or impacted by COVID-19.

The service operates Monday to Friday 9am-5pm, call 1800 961 780, email rainbowconnection@thorneharbour.org or visit the website https://thorneharbour.org/ 

Q-Life provides anonymous and free LGBTi peer support and referral for people in Australia wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. 

Call 1800 184 527 or speak to someone on their Webchat available 3pm to midnight, every day. 

Mental Well-being Support

It’s important to look after your mental health during the coronoavrius outbreak. The way we live our day-to-day lives has changed in many ways as a result of COVID-19 and understandably this is affecting our mental health and wellbeing as a community.

It is not unusual to experience feelings of distress or to feel overwhelmed at times by what is happening around us. There are services who can help us cope and offer support.

Beyond Blue

Provides up-to-date information, resources, advice and strategies to help manage your wellbeing and mental health during this time.

Talk it through with us, whatever you’re feeling during these challengeing times, you can talk it through with one of our consellors.

Call 1800 512 348, chat onlineemail or talk in an online forum.

eheadspace

Provdes free online support and counselling to young people 12-25 and their families and friends.

Join the Group Chatconnect with a clinician 1-on-1 or create a space to build your own mental health toolkit.

Headspace

Provides additional resources, tools, useful links and information to help you during this pandemic, including:

  • Tips for a healthy headspace
  • How to cope with stress related to Coronavirus
  • Responding to family conflict
  • Balancing online schooling and working from home

Kids Helpline

Information and support on COVID-19 for teens and young adults to cope with quarantine and the mixed emotions that come with it.

KidsHelpline is open 24/7 to answer your WebChatemail or call 1800 55 1800, anytime for any reason.

Lifeline

Providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.

When life gets too much and you find it hard to talk, text 13 11 14 6pm – midnight (AEST), WebChat 7pm – midnight (AEST) or call 13 11 17, 7 days a week.