Over time many people have lived in, worked on or in, provided services to, or routinely visited houses affected by loose fill asbestos insulation. It is important to understand any health risks.
Keep in mind:
- just because a person has been exposed to loose fill asbestos insulation does not mean they will develop an asbestos-related medical condition
- the chance of developing an asbestos-related disease increases with the cumulative exposure to asbestos fibres a person breathes in during their life time
- asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fibre that was used extensively in some products due to its strength, insulating features and resistance to fire
- to date, most people who have developed asbestos-related diseases have been exposed to a relatively large number of fibres through their work (such as miners, asbestos manufacturers, tradespeople)
People who are concerned about their health should seek advice from their general practitioner who can provide an assessment of individual circumstance and exposure risks.
Transcript: Dealing with the emotional impact of the Mr Fluffy legacy - 3 June 2015. Find more Asbestos Response Taskforce videos on Vimeo.
Therapeutic support group
A free therapeutic support group, hosted by CatholicCare, provides a safe place for current and former homeowners and tenants of Mr Fluffy properties to connect, access support and information, and share experiences. The group meets bi-monthly and is facilitated by trained psychologists.
If you are experiencing a personal crisis and need immediate support you can contact:
- Lifeline – provides a 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. Phone 13 11 14 at any time or visit the Lifeline website.
- Beyond Blue – provides information and support to help everyone achieve their best mental health. Phone 1300 224 636 or visit the Beyond Blue website.
- ACT Mental Health, Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT) – provide a 24-hour, highly accessible and responsive acute mental health assessment and treatment service in the most appropriate setting. Phone 1800 629 354 or visit the Health Directorate website.
- Wellways – provides support and information to people experiencing mental health issues, as well as their family, friends and carers. Phone 1300 111 400 or visit the Wellways website.
Your General Practitioner (GP) can help if you are experiencing moderate anxiety or depression. Your GP can complete a mental health treatment plan and provide a referral for sessions with a psychologist under:
- the Better Access initiative that provides better access to mental health practitioners through Medicare
- the Capital Health Network's Next Step Program
Your GP can also assist with information about the risks to your physical health of potential asbestos exposure.
You can directly access other support at:
- Next Step provides free and confidential support to help tackle day-to-day pressures. Next Step's mental health professionals have experience engaging with clients who have been affected by Mr Fluffy and will continue to support affected households. Phone 02 6287 8066 to make an appointment.
- Relationships Australia provides specialist family and relationship counselling and dispute resolution services. Phone 1300 364 277 to make an appointment.
- ACT Health, Community Health Centres provide access to a wide range of community health services from 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday (8am to 3:30pm on Wednesday). Phone the Community Health Intake (CHI) line on 02 6207 9977 or visit the Health Directorate website for information on services available and the location of a health centre close to you.
- OneLink – provides information and easy access to support services in the ACT. They can connect people to a wide range of services, including child, youth and family services, financial counselling and mental health services. OneLink is a partnership between Woden Community Service and Capital Region Community Service. Phone 1800 176 468 or visit the OneLink website.
There are a range of specialist support services for children and young people experiencing difficulties as a result of the impact of Mr Fluffy on their lives. Support can be accessed at:
- Education Directorate – school counsellors can support families, particularly those with adolescent children. The Directorate can also assist families that have moved out-of-area and want to maintain existing school enrolments. Contact your local school to make an appointment with a counsellor. If you require assistance or clarification on enrolments contact 02 6205 5429 or submit an enquiry online via the Education Directorate Contact Form.
- Community Services Directorate, Child and Family Centres – provide services for families with young children in the Gungahlin, Tuggeranong and West Belconnen communities. The Centres provide a range of targeted and tailored services, with a strong emphasis on providing outreach services in homes, schools and the community. Staff are available to speak with parents in person or by phone, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Visit the Community Services Directorate website for information on the Child and Family Centre nearest you and services available.
- HeadSpace – provides counselling support to young people aged 12 to 25 years experiencing mental health concerns and/or substance use issues. Phone 02 5109 9700 or visit the Headspace website.
- Menslink – supports young men aged 12 to 25 years with free counselling, volunteer mentoring and education programs to bring about positive changes in their lives. Phone 02 6287 2226, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Menslink website.
- YWCA Canberra's Mura Lanyon Youth and Community Centre – provides information, activities and support for children and young people. Phone 02 6294 4633 or visit the YWCA website.
Support is available to help older Canberrans, particularly to assist with the process of moving to new living arrangements, including relocating to a retirement village or aged care home. Support can be accessed at:
- Council on the Ageing ACT (COTA) – provide a wide range of information on issues that senior Canberrans face each day, including housing, finance, health, medical and retirement. They can act as a referral service if required. Phone 02 6282 3777 or visit the COTA website.
- My Aged Care – a national online and phone service to find out about a broad range of aged care services. Phone 1800 200 422 or visit the My Aged Care website.
- Regional Community Services – offer a range of home support, transport, recreational and social programs for seniors. See support services in your area.
If you feel anxious or concerned, get support from:
- Mental health and wellbeing - supporting children (335.9 KB)
- Community members - supporting yourself and others (304.2 KB)
- Your health and loose fill asbestos (565.5 KB)
- CHAMPS - A change management program for preschool and primary school age children (2.8 MB)
- ACT Health Asbestos fact sheet (514 KB)
- Health and Wellbeing - Dr Paul Kelly (video and transcript)
- Dealing with the emotional impact of the Mr Fluffy legacy - Dr Rob Gordon (video and transcript)
- Australian Mesothelioma Registry reports
- ACT Asbestos Health Study (ANU)
Find out more about:
- support services in your local area
- therapeutic support group
- understanding the health risks
- list of affected properties
- asbestos awareness and safety
- practical support
- Asbestos Management Plan
- National Asbestos Exposure Register
Contact us for more information.