People may be at risk of developing anxiety or depression after experiencing a traumatic event or a natural disaster like a bushfire, flood, cyclone or earthquake.
In Australia, we're used to floods, storms, fires, cyclones and prolonged drought. Occasionally, severe disasters occur and can catch even the most conscientious and well-prepared people off-guard. Lives and property can be lost with little warning, causing a great deal of heartache and suffering.
Immediately after a serious disaster, you may experience a range of thoughts, feelings and behaviour that can be intense, confusing and frightening. These are common reactions to an extraordinary situation. Most people recover after disasters by drawing on their own strengths and the support of others, and most will gradually rebuild their lives and achieve a sense of wellbeing again.
However, some people may go on to develop a psychological problem. It's important to know the difference between a normal reaction to a stressful or potentially traumatic event and the signs that indicate you should seek additional support.
beyondblue has produced two resources for people who have experienced a traumatic event or disaster.
The Looking after yourself and your family after a disaster booklet is designed to help you understand the reactions you – or someone you know – may be experiencing. It contains practical advice, numbers to call and websites to visit if you need more information or support.
The booklet was developed by beyondblue, the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health, Australian Red Cross and the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement.
Our Emotional responses after a disaster flyer is a quick guide to the normal or beyond normal reactions you may experience. It also provides some tips on how to deal with the emotional impact of a disaster.