Hepburn Shire Mayor, Cr Brian Hood, has thanked the community for their support of one another following the tragic event that led to the death of five people and significant injuries to others in Daylesford last Sunday evening.

“The Hepburn Shire community sends our love and condolences to the families of the victims. There has been such an outpouring of public grief for those affected, with several hundred people attending vigils throughout the week to pay their respects,” said Cr Hood.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported others following this terrible event,” he said. “We will continue to work with local groups and agencies to develop a plan as to how we can best support our community and the families of the victims in the days, weeks and months to come.”

Council and other agencies have worked closely with those businesses directly impacted by the event.

“The community has really rallied around The Royal Daylesford Hotel, Daylesford Hotel and Winespeak Cellar + Deli, which were impacted so significantly by the tragedy but have now reopened,” said Cr Hood. “We offer a reminder to be respectful of staff in these businesses at this time. Please assume that they do not want to discuss the event. We urge you to give them, and other business operators, some space,” he said.

The Drop-in counselling service offered by Central Highlands Rural Health will remain open over the weekend to continue providing free mental health support for anyone impacted by the recent accident.

Counsellors will be available at 79a Raglan Street to help anyone directly or indirectly affected by the events including members of the Daylesford community and visitors to the town. The drop-in centre will be open on Saturday from 9am to 5pm and on Sunday from 9am to 5pm.

To date, the drop-in counselling service has spoken with nearly 50 people seeking mental health support through its phone service and in-person counsellors at 79a Raglan Street. In addition, the Victorian Council of Churches Emergency Ministry and Red Cross have had more than 200 community interactions per day to ensure the Daylesford community has multiple ways of accessing support.

“Supporting one another is critical, and especially at this difficult time,” said Cr Hood. “I appreciate that people process grief differently, but I urge everyone affected to reach out and talk to someone. The trauma counselling support provided at 79 Raglan Street and by specially trained volunteers around town has played an important role in the coping and healing process.

For anyone unable to access the drop-in centre, other free counselling services are available. Please contact one of the following organisations, where appropriate:

• Uniting Mental Health & Wellbeing Hub – (03) 9192 8100
• Head to Health – 1800 595212
• Beyond Blue – 1300 224636
• Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
• headspace – 1800 650 890
• 13YARN – 13 92 76

From Monday, November 13 the drop-in counselling centre will cease with enquiries to be directed to The Daylesford Community Health Centre or one of the partner mental wellbeing agencies.

For more information, please phone Central Highlands Rural Health on (03) 5321 6551 or visit Daylesford Community Health at 13 Hospital St, Daylesford.