Everyone has to deal with challenges in their life sometimes, whether it’s feeling stressed, sad or angry. It helps to know that support services are available. But that help may be harder to get if you’re an Aboriginal or a Torres Strait Islander and you’re talking to a doctor or a mental health professional who doesn’t understand what your life is like or what you’re going through.
To make finding help easier for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we’ve put together this guide to services where you can chat with people who will understand what you’re talking about.
National phone lines run by Indigenous people
13 YARN is a national helpline for Indigenous people who are going through a tough time and feel like having a yarn. All of the operators are Indigenous people who are trained to support you without judgement and to provide a confidential, culturally safe space to yarn about your needs, worries or concerns.
Phone: 13 92 76 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
Brother to Brother
The Brother to Brother crisis line is a 24/7 phone line for Aboriginal men who need someone to talk to about issues going on in their life and community. They’ve got heaps of experience talking about relationship issues, family violence, parenting, drug and alcohol issues, and many other problems. It’s run by Aboriginal men, including elders, who understand these challenges really well.
Phone: 1800 435 799 (24 hours, 7 days a week)
These national phone lines can be helpful if you need someone to chat to. They might not be able to link you up with an Indigenous person, but they are very experienced in talking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are all open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Lifeline (13 11 14) is Australia’s biggest mental health helpline.
- Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) is a national hotline with operators who are great at helping out young people aged 5 to 25 years.
- 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) is a phone line that specialises in helping out people who have been abused by their families or sexually assaulted.
If you don’t feel like talking to someone about what’s going on in your life, there are lots of websites where you can find useful information or other help. These sites are all made with input from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- The Black Dog Institute’s iBobbly app
- Yarn Safe is an online mental health resource for Indigenous people
- ReachOut’s Yarn Up collection has stories from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on how they stay safe and strong
- The Manual of Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention has information on how to keep yourself, your family and your community safe.
Regional help services
Sometimes, if you’re going through a rough time, you’ll want to talk to someone in person. This list of medical services can help if you want to talk to a member of the community face-to-face, rather than just over the phone.
These are just a few of the 150 or so regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support services that exist around Australia. If you can’t find a service on this list that’s near where you live, head over to this map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander support services to find one that is.
These services are mostly open during business hours, Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm..
Aboriginal Medical Service Cooperative Limited, Redfern
Where: Sydney’s Inner West.
Phone: (02) 9319 5823
Greater Western Aboriginal Health Service (GWAHS)
Where: Greater Western Sydney (including Katoomba, Penrith and Mount Druitt), Wellington, Dubbo and Moree.
Phone: (02) 9836 7300
Awabakal Medical Service
Where: Newcastle, Maitland and Raymond Terrace.
Phone: (02) 4907 8555
Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative (BADAC)
Where: Ballarat and Ballarat district, including Avoca, Daylesford, Maldon, Ararat and Cressy.
Phone: (03) 5331 5344
Victorian Aboriginal Health Services
Where: Melbourne, including Fitzroy, Preston and Epping.
Phone: (03) 9419 3000
Bendigo & District Aboriginal Co-operative
Where: Bendigo and the surrounding districts of Boort, Redesdale and Creswick.
Phone: (03) 5442 4947
Wathaurong Health Service
Where: Geelong and Colac.
Phone: (03) 5277 0044
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service Brisbane Limited (ATSiCHS)
Where: Brisbane and Logan.
Phone: (07) 3240 8900 (8.30 am to 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday)
Townsville Aboriginal and Islanders Health Services (TAIHS)
Where: Townsville and the surrounding area.
Phone: (07) 4759 4000
Kalwun Development Corporation Ltd
Where: The Gold Coast, including Bilinga, Coomera, Nerang and Miami.
Phone: (07) 5578 3434
Central Australian Aboriginal Congress (CAAC)
Where: Alice Springs and the surrounding area.
Phone: (08) 8951 4400
Urapuntja Health Service
Where: The Utopia community and the surrounding homelands northeast of Alice Springs.
Phone: (08) 8956 9875
Danila Dilba Health Service
Where: Greater Darwin region.
Phone: (08) 8942 5400
Derbarl Yerrigan Health Service Aboriginal Corporation (DYHSAC)
Where: Perth metropolitan area.
Phone: (08) 9421 3888
Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services (KAMS)
Where: All across the Kimberley, including Broome, Ord Valley, Derby, Halls Creek, Beagle Bay, Wyndham, Kununurra and Fitzroy Crossing.
Phone: (08) 9194 3200
Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc.
Where: Adelaide and Moonta.
Phone: (08) 8406 1600
Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health and Community Services
Phone: (02) 6284 6222
Apunipima Cape York Health Council
Where: All over Cape York.
Phone: (07) 4037 7100
What can I do now?
- If you need urgent help, call 13 YARN (13 92 76) or visit our urgent help page.
- For more stories about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people staying strong and safe, check out our Yarn Up collection.
- To find a support service you can visit in person, check out this map of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander regional support services.