If you are going through a separation, there is lots of assistance available to you in the form of charities, many of which you may not be aware of.
To ensure you don’t miss out on the support you deserve to help navigate this difficult time, we’ve made a list of the most helpful.
Whether you need emotional, practical or financial support these charities have you covered.
For single parents feeling overwhelmed or having a hard time coping with life’s challenges, Lifeline provides short-term counselling and support. The national charity offers 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services to people in emotional distress.
Lifeline wants no Australian to face their darkest moments alone. If you are feeling suicidal, having a difficult time, or simply worried for a friend or family member, Lifeline is the charity to call. Their website is also an excellent source of information on who to contact if you are experiencing specific challenges, such as trauma, domestic violence, natural disaster and more.
1800RESPECT is a 24/7 national helpline that provides confidential information, counselling and support services to Australians affected by sexual assault, domestic or family violence and abuse. They have phone and web chat counselling and an extensive library of resources.
The service is completely confidential and available round the clock. Counsellors will listen to your story, provide information that can help with the issues you are experiencing, connect you with professionals and support workers in your area, and help you come up with a safety plan if you wish. The advice they provide is tailored to the information you give them.
The Black Dog Institute
The Black Dog Institute is the only medical research institute in the country dedicated to mental health and wellness. Their mission is to create a mentally healthier world by combining research, education programs, technology, public resources, clinical services and technology.
The Black Dog website is a brilliant resource if you are looking for the latest science-backed information about mental illness like depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. You’ll also find support groups across the country to connect with people experiencing the same issues, and access free apps and other tools. Their online clinic provides a free personal mental health assessment that you can use when you visit your doctor or therapist.
For over two decades, Beyond Blue has been supporting people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide. While not a crisis centre like Lifeline, they provide immediate support by phone and chat for people to discuss their worries and concerns with a mental health professional. This service is completely confidential.
Beyond Blue also provides information and resources about mental health and suicide prevention. If you need further support, go to their website and click on “Find a Professional” to see a list of GPs, social workers, counsellors/therapists and clinics. Also check out NewAccess, their free mental health coaching program for anyone feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is an international Christian non-profit organisation providing a host of services for issues like homelessness, addiction, aged care, domestic/family violence and disaster recovery. They are the largest provider of homelessness services in Australia.
The Salvation Army’s Doorways and emergency relief service lets you access limited financial assistance for immediate needs, like paying for day-to-day essentials or unexpected bills. More long-term support is available through referrals to professionals and social workers.
If you are in immediate need of accommodation, meals and even financial assistance, check out your nearest Salvos for help.
St Vincent de Paul Society
The St Vincent de Paul Society is a Catholic charity like Salvos that provides both short-and long-term assistance for people in need. Their services include low-Income support, disability, food and housing and homelessness, among others. To find local help and support, go to their website and enter your state.
In QLD, for example, Vinnies partners with government agencies and local groups to provide help to individuals or single parents experiencing a housing crisis. They also have a No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) for low-income earners that allows you to borrow up to $1200 to replace a broken appliance (fridge, washer) or repair your car.
Foodbank serves as the pantry to the country’s charitable organisations. They don’t work directly with individuals but with charities across Australia, providing food and groceries to nearly 3000 organisations that help people in crisis.
Foodbank relies on donations from private individuals and organizations to prove food relief services. They source food and groceries from retailers, wholesalers, farmers, and manufacturers through ‘food rescue’ programs, product donations or direct purchase.
If you or your family need emergency food relief, head to the Ask Izzy website and choose your state to see local food relief services and contact information.
Mission Australia is another Christian charity dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis. They provide social housing services for single parents, low-income/disadvantaged families, and children. They also have financial, legal, employment, skills training and other homelessness services.
Through Mission Australia Housing, single parents can access thousands of affordable housing options across NSW, Tasmania and Queensland. If you need housing help, go to their website services directory, choose a service and enter your postcode. You’ll see a list of local services near you.
Moneycare (The Salvation Army)
Don’t miss The Salvation Army’s Moneycare program if you are struggling with money as a single parent. Moneycare can help get your finances sorted through financial coaching/counselling, no-interest loans and other services. Whether it’s debt, rent payments or food insecurity, their team can offer free, confidential and judgment-free advice and practical tips to help you take back control.
Moneycare’s financial coaches will review your financial position and help you create a money plan. Meanwhile, their No Interest Loan Scheme is handy when you find yourself unable to replace a broken washer or repair your car to get to work.
National Debt Helpline
The National Debt Helpline is your first stop if you are in financial trouble and unable to pay bills or urgent expenses. You can reach them through phone or chat, where trained financial counsellors will assess your situation and give you advice at no cost. These include connecting you to local services like health, legal, crisis, housing and food should you need them.
If your issue is more complex, they offer a face-to-face financial counselling service. There’s also online self-help if that’s more your cup of tea. Visit the NDH website and check out their e-learning materials that cover everything from knowing your rights to dealing with financial abuse by a partner or family member.
Wesley Mission is a charity providing multiple support services for those struggling with life’s challenges. Their financial counselling service is free and confidential for people experiencing financial troubles, big or small. You can talk to a professional counsellor on the phone or via web chat to review your situation and come up with a plan to break out of debt and get back on track.
Some of the things that a financial counsellor can help you with are creating a budget, connecting you to relevant professionals or agencies, and advocating/negotiating on your behalf with creditors and the government. To speak with a Wesley counsellor, call 1300 827 638.
The Smith Charity
The Smith Family is a national charity that provides long-term support to young disadvantaged Australians. While they focus on children’s services, they also offer financial programs for families in need: MoneyMinded, Money Talks and Saver Plus. MoneyMinded is a financial education program about money management, Money Talks is a financial literacy program for the youth, and SaverPlus is a financial education and matched savings program for families.
With SaverPlus, single parents can access a free 10-month saving program, build financial skills and saving habits, and receive up to $500 to help with education costs for you and your kids.