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National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework

Supporting the wellbeing of all Australians in times of disaster through the National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework

Disaster risk is increasing, and more communities are being negatively impacted by concurrent and compounding events. This is affecting individuals’ resilience and their ability to cope. Mental health for people in impacted communities and emergency service workers is a priority.

The Australian Government released the National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework in the context of the 2023-24 Budget, which NEMA is now working with its Commonwealth, State and Territory counterparts to implement.


Mental health needs are complex, and support at the individual and community levels is often needed during the social recovery from disasters.

Mental health support during a disaster needs a collaborative and well-coordinated approach by all recovery partners, including local, state and federal governments in conjunction with community and professional organisations.

Evidence indicates psychological prevention and preparedness strategies can lessen the toll of major disasters on people’s mental health and wellbeing.

National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework

The National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework provides guidance to recovery workers to support disaster-affected communities’ mental health and wellbeing.

The Framework guides governments, and multisector recovery partners to work together towards the same goals, using the same language, in a coordinated and consistent manner.

It includes:

  • guiding principles in how to effectively provide mental health support and services
  • roles and responsibilities between levels of government and the private/non-government sector
  • key components of care

Frequently asked questions

What else is the Australian Government doing to support mental health and wellbeing?

The Australian Government has made significant improvements to way the states and territories are supported in their primary responsibility of disaster preparedness, response and recovery.

The health and wellbeing of Australians who have experienced a disaster is a priority for all levels of government.

A number of mental health supports are provided through states and territories, as well as mental health supports for first responders through the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Aged Care.

The Black Dog Institute (through the National Emergency Worker Support Service) and the Australian Psychological Society (through the Disaster Response Network), are funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care until 30 June 2025.

As part of the 2024-25 Federal Budget, mental health and wellbeing support organisation Fortem Australia will receive a one-off $3.5 million grant to continue providing psychological counselling, wellbeing activities and training to first responders and their families to the same end date (that is, 30 June 2025).

What’s next for funding mental health and wellbeing?

The Australian Government remains committed to open and transparent merit-based processes for funding.

Future funding for specific mental health and wellbeing supports for first responders will be considered as part of the National Disaster Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework which guides a co-ordinated approach to mental health support in the context of emergency management.

Co-funding for mental health support can be requested by states and territories under the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.