We are very lucky here in Australia to have lots of brilliant charities that we can reach out to during our times of struggle. Many of them have plenty to offer us single mothers.
Whether you are in need of emotional, practical or financial support, you don’t have to look far to find a helping hand.
Often the hardest parts are accepting you need help, and then finding it.
For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of brilliant charities that help single mums.
Further reading: What benefits am I entitled to as a single mum?
The Council of Single Mothers and their Children is one of the foremost charities that help single mums in Australia. Based in Victoria, the CSMC is run by single mothers and has been helping and empowering them since 1969. The non-profit organisation is dedicated solely to supporting single mothers and their children through specialist services. Their priorities include child support, parenting support, affordable childcare and housing, income security, family law, and flexible study and employment.
The CSMC focuses on advocacy and collaboration with other organisations, emergency relief, referrals and information, and social connections. This is done mainly through their direct telephone and email support. CSMC is a membership-based community and based on a self-help model. You can access their services and community support by becoming a member for free.
Reach out to CSMC if you need help with single mother specialist services.
Like the CSMC, the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children (NCSMC) exists to support and empower single mothers, focusing on mothers living in hardship. Founded in the 1970s, the goal of the NCSMC is to eliminate and respond to violence, hardship and domestic violence for single mums and their children. The organisation ensures that single mums have access to information and support they need to make informed decisions and protect themselves and their children.
Their three main service areas include assistance for financial hardship, child support and domestic violence. Their website provides links to resources and emergency relief contacts like DHS Centrelink for mothers in financial hardship and those experiencing domestic violence, children experiencing cyberbullying, as well as information on childcare, child support, and family tax benefits policies.
Reach out to the NCSMC if you need help with child support, domestic violence and financial hardship.
It’s not uncommon for single mothers to find themselves in a dark place. When life gets overwhelming, there are multiple charities that help single mums emotionally. One of them is Lifeline. Lifeline is dedicated to providing short-term counselling and support for anyone having a difficult time or feeling hopeless and suicidal. It also helps those who are worried about someone experiencing life’s toughest challenges, from domestic violence to natural disasters.
Australia’s helpline provides 24-hour crisis support by phone, text or online chat. You can talk to someone and get compassionate support without judgment. Their non-crisis services include suicide prevention through the Holding on to Hope podcast and community education and advocacy. In addition, Lifeline has multiple centres across the country providing face-to-face counselling and support groups for financial hardship, bereavement, suicide safe training and domestic violence response training.
Reach out to Lifeline if you need help with any overwhelming personal crisis.
Beyond Blue is another charity that helps single mums experiencing emotional distress. Beyond Blue is not a crisis centre like Lifeline that you can call 24/7, but they provide phone, email and online chat support for people affected by anxiety, depression and suicide. You can discuss your concerns and worries with a trained support specialist or mental health professional and they will point you in the right direction. This service is completely confidential.
Beyond Blue has been around for 20 years, and it is the most well-known and visited mental health organisation in the country. Besides counselling, they work with the community, including private and public organisations, to provide resources and information about mental health improvement and suicide prevention. If you need to contact a GP or other mental health professional, head to their website for a directory of practitioners.
Reach out to Beyond Blue if you need help with anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
The Black Dog Institute is a medical research institute solely dedicated to mental health and wellness. Through research, technology, clinical services, education, advocacy, and collaboration with other agencies and community organisations, they aim to create a world that is mentally healthier. Their website is a gold mine of the latest research on anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, suicide and wellbeing.
Besides a one-stop mental health resource, the institute offers a wide range of services to vulnerable groups. Currently, they provide free mental health support for emergency service workers and their loved ones affected by natural disasters. You can connect with support groups in your area, access free apps and digital mental health tools, and get a free online mental health assessment that you can use when you visit your therapist. Also check out their COVID-19 page for resources to deal with stress and anxiety.
Reach out to the Black Dog Institute if you need non-emergency mental health and well-being support.
1800RESPECT is a national counselling service operating round the clock for those experiencing sexual assault and domestic or family violence/abuse. The helpline provides confidential information, counselling and support services by phone and online chat, and a wealth of information on violence and abuse, including safety planning and supporting someone you care about. It can be difficult for single mums to talk about these issues, so 1800RESPECT ensures that you can talk to a trained counsellor who will listen and provide support based on your unique situation.
Counsellors will work with you to identify what you can do and where to get help. You can expect them to talk about ways to improve your safety like building a safety plan, services available to you, such as support groups and counselling, and connect you to local support workers and professionals.
Reach out to 1800-RESPECT if you need immediate help with sexual assault and/or domestic violence issues.
The nonprofit Friends with Dignity is a charity that helps single mums start a new life after surviving domestic violence. Together with refuge and crisis centres, they raise awareness and provide free programs for survivors and those currently experiencing domestic violence (including men and children) in order to reduce instances of domestic violence in the country.
To help domestic violence survivors reclaim their dignity, they provide a wide variety of services in areas like emergency relief, housing, and child education. Their Sanctuary program aims to create a safe living environment for survivors by transforming houses into sanctuaries, and their FriendSafe program provides people who have fled violence a personal safety smartwatch to contact emergency services without needing to use a phone. Friends with Dignity works from agency referrals and not directly with individuals, but you can get in touch with them if you would like to apply for a scholarship for your child who is affected by domestic violence.
Reach out to Friends with Dignity if you would like to apply for a Little Friends Scholarship.
If you want to be more actively involved in raising awareness of domestic violence in your community, White Ribbon Australia is the charity you need. White Ribbon is the largest movement in the world that engages men and boys to build healthier relationships and eliminate violence against women and girls. They believe that women’s safety is a man’s issue, too, and their main purpose is to mobilise men and boys to take action to end men’s violence and abuse against women.
The organisation takes a preventive approach to domestic violence in schools, workplaces and communities through its programs and events. You can get involved by becoming a Community Partner, starting a community action group or response fund, holding an event at your school or workplace, or working directly with White Ribbon.
Reach out to White Ribbon if you need help organising a community event to raise domestic violence awareness.
If you find yourself suddenly unable to pay bills and urgent expenses, the National Debt Helpline is here to help. It is one of the top charities that help single mums get their financial issues sorted and get back on track. This independent and confidential service is available free of charge to anyone in financial difficulty. You can call the helpline (1800 007 007) or chat online with a financial counsellor who will help assess your situation, provide advice on how to deal with creditors and agencies, and refer you to other support services (including legal, emergency and housing) if needed.
For complex financial woes related to situations like domestic violence and mental health issues, the National Debt Helpline offers face-to-face financial counselling. On their website, they also provide step-by-step action plans and e-learning resources for people in these situations.
Reach out to the National Debt Helpline if you need help with urgent financial difficulties.
The Salvation Army is a popular charity for crisis relief, but they also provide support services to people struggling with money. Its Moneycare program can help you tackle out-of-control finances fast through counselling, coaching and no-interest loan services. Their trained counsellors are there to listen, help you understand your situation and provide step-by-step advice to end your money worries.
Moneycare’s financial counselling service is ideal for those in need of urgent, practical advice, while financial coaching is great for those looking for a long-term plan to reach their financial goals. Their No-Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) if for anyone needing a little extra help, whether it’s to buy essentials, repair your car or supplement a low income.
Reach out to Salvation Army Moneycare if you need short- or long-term financial help.
While the Smith Family is a children’s charity that helps young disadvantaged Australians with educational programs, they also provide financial support services to families in need. For example, they offer financial assistance for children’s essential education items if you are struggling to pay for your kids’ school things.
Their three main financial programs are MoneyMinded, Money Talks and Saver Plus. MoneyMinded is a financial literacy program that helps people make informed decisions in terms of money management. Money Talks is another literacy program helping young people develop positive money habits and skills. Saver Plus is Australia’s longest-running financial education and matched savings program that lets you receive up to $500 to help with education costs.
Reach out to the Smith Family if you need help with your kids’ education costs.
Homelessness can be one of the biggest challenges for many struggling single mothers. If you are affected, Mission Australia can help. The Christian charity is dedicated to helping individuals and families experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis by providing social housing and other support services, including financial, legal, mental health, employment, skills training and other homelessness services. With nationwide centres, Mission Australia can help you find safe and affordable housing in your area.
Mission Australia Housing is a national provider of social and affordable housing with over 3,000 social and affordable homes across NSW, Tasmania and Queensland. The charity works with other agencies to provide research services and advocate for more social and affordable housing in government. If you need more help, they also have other services, from employment and skills training to rehabilitation.
Reach out to Mission Australia if you need help finding affordable housing or a safe place to stay for the night.
Vinnies or the St Vincent de Paul Society is a Catholic charity providing a broad range of services to disadvantaged and vulnerable Australians. Their services include low-income support, housing and homelessness, health, refugees and migrants, indigenous people, and children and education. Volunteers and employees help people find secure and adequately paid work, affordable housing, immediate shelter, food aid, emergency relief, financial assistance and more.
If you need local support, go to the Vinnies website and enter your state to see a list of agencies to contact. You can also reach out directly to the Vinnies Helpline on 1800VINNIES (1800 846 643) or chat online at www.qld.vinnies.org.au.
Reach out to Mission Australia if you need help with housing, financial or employment issues.
Foodbank is the country’s largest food relief organisation that serves as the pantry to Australia’s charities. It is the largest supplier of food and groceries to charities in many states and the biggest supporter of school breakfast programs, providing regular breakfasts to more than 132,000 students. Foodbank does not work with individuals directly, but feeds over a million people each month through agency referrals and requests.
With donations from businesses and private individuals, Foodbank is able to source food and groceries from retailers, wholesalers, farmers and manufacturers and distribute them to where they are most needed. If you or your family need food, head to the AskIzzy website and click ‘Food’ and enter your details and location. Or visit the ‘Individuals’ section of their website and choose your state to find a helpline or agency number.
Reach out to Foodbank if you need food assistance for you and your family.
The international charity Salvation Army is a one-stop social services organisation for anyone in need. Their short- and long-term services cover areas like housing and homelessness, family and domestic violence, financial assistance, employment, housing, disaster/emergency relief, aged care, and much more. They are the largest provider of homelessness services in Australia.
If you need temporary shelter, food and emergency financial assistance, contact your local Salvos. For long-term support, such as mental health counselling and financial planning, Salvos can connect you to professionals and social workers who can help. The Salvos website is also packed with information about its services in case you prefer to go the self-help route.
Reach out to the Salvation Army if you need emergency accommodation, family and financial support.
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