Where to get help if you’re in crisis

Where to get help if you're in crisis 1

Are you behind on your bills and struggling to cover your rent or afford food? Whatever your situation, there are services that can help you. 

Emergency relief 

If you urgently need help with living expenses there are charities and community organisations that can help you with: 

  • One-off food, transport or chemist vouchers 
  • Rent or accommodation 
  • Part-payment of electricity, gas or water bills 
  • Food parcels or clothing 
  • Budgeting or referrals to other programs 


Here is how to find your nearest emergency relief service: 

  • Search for emergency relief providers in your area using the Department of Social Services Grants Service Directory. Within the directory, choose ‘Financial Crisis and Material Aid – Emergency Relief’ in the ‘Service Type’ field. 
  • See the directories on the Salvation Army website or call their national number on 13 72 58, or see the St Vincent de Paul website or call 13 18 12. 
  • Contact your local church, community centre or community organisation and find out where emergency relief is provided in your area. 

Important: MoneySmart does not lend money 

ASIC’s MoneySmart website does not lend money or arrange loans but is happy to answer your questions about loans and money. 

Email us at feedback@moneysmart.gov.au or call ASIC’s Infoline on 1300 300 630. 

Income support and other social services 

The Department of Human Services provides social and health-related payments and services to people going through major change. They can also connect you with housing and other social services. 

If you are already receiving Centrelink payments, the Department may be able to arrange advance or urgent payments. 

See the Department of Human Services website for more details. 

Emotional support and practical advice 

You don’t have to go it alone. There is free and confidential help available. 

Issue  Contact details 
Crisis support 




13 11 14 (24 hours) 

Lifeline’s crisis support chat service 

Depression or anxiety 



1300 22 46 36 (24 hours) 

Domestic violence and abuse 



1800 737 732 (24 hours). 

Drug and alcohol addiction 


Counselling online 

1800 888 236 (24 hours) 




Gambling Help online 

National Gambling Helpline 

1800 858 858 (24 hours) 

Legal advice 


See our free legal advice webpage for contact details 


Health and emotional problems  Your local doctor can provide general advice and help and refer you to local services 

Your local doctor can also give you support and advice and can refer you to services. 

If some of your financial problems are due to another person running up debts in your name, or pressuring you to spend money or sign up for a loan, you may be experiencing financial abuse. Visit our  financial abuse webpage for a list of organisations that can help. 

Help with housing 

State and Territory Government Departments provide emergency temporary accommodation in low-cost hotels, motels, caravan parks and similar accommodation for people who are homeless or experiencing a housing crisis. They may also be able to help with your rental bond. Contact the housing department in your state or territory to discuss your eligibility. 

State  Organisation  Contact details 
ACT  Housing and community services ACT  communityservices.act.gov.au/hcs 

133 427 

Queensland  Queensland Government  qld.gov.au/housing 

13 QGOV (13 74 68) (to find your nearest housing service centre) 

New South Wales  New South Wales Family and Community Services  facs.nsw.gov.au/housing 

1800 422 322 (open 24 hours) 

Northern Territory  ShelterMe – a directory of services for homeless Territorians  shelterme.org.au 
South Australia  Government of South Australia  sa.gov.au 

1800 003 308 (freecall from a landline, 24 hours) 

Tasmania  Housing Tasmania  dhhs.tas.gov.au/housing 

1300 665 663 

Victoria  Department of Human Services  dhs.vic.gov.au 

1800 825 955 (statewide toll free number 24 hours) 

Western Australia  Shelter WA Homeless Advisory Service  shelterwa.org.au 

1800 065 892 

Help with debts and bills 

Talk to your creditors 

Start by contacting your bank, utility or phone provider and let them know you’re experiencing hardship. Talk to them about adjusting your loan or bill repayments to a more manageable level. Here are some tips on how to start talking to your credit providers. 

If you’re finding it hard to pay your phone or internet bill, see the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network’s information on staying connected when things get tough. 

For more information on managing your bills see problems paying your bills and council rates. 

See a financial counsellor 

Financial counsellors give advice on credit and debt issues and can help you negotiate with your creditors. They work in community organisations and their services are free, independent and confidential. 

The National Debt Helpline website has information to help you prioritise your debts. 

Here’s how you can find a financial counsellor in your local area. 

Don’t rush into anything 

You may be tempted by quick fix solutions to your problems such as: 

Before signing up to any of these talk to a financial counsellor. They can clearly explain your options. 

Consider a no or low interest loan 

There may be better and cheaper options to manage your debt. See the no or low interest loans webpage to find out more. 

If you need urgent help with money, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are services and support available that can help you get through difficult times. 

You can contact us at Sunlife any time for advice or support, we’re all in this together.

Source : ASIC’s MONEYSMART January 2020  


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