Managing your mental health after a natural disaster
Living through a natural disaster can take a toll on your mental health and wellbeing. It’s vital that you and the people around you seek appropriate support.
Symptoms you may experience
During an emergency, and when returning home, it is important to take care of yourself.
It is normal to experience a range of emotions if you are affected by a disaster. You may experience these emotions immediately after the event, during, or sometimes much later. Your sleep, mood and daily routines might be affected.
If you experience distress that interferes with your day-to-day activities, you should seek support.
And try to:
- spend time with family and friends
- get back to a routine but don’t push yourself and work too hard
- continue a healthy lifestyle (try to eat well, sleep and exercise)
- take time out, but don’t isolate yourself
- accept help when it’s offered
- limit the amount of media coverage you see and hear.
Where to find support
Talking to your doctor or regular health care provider is a good first step. If you can't speak to your doctor, find another doctor or health service near you through healthdirect.
There are a range of mental health support services available to people that provide confidential phone support and advice on how to deal with different types of mental health issues.
If you live in a rural or remote area, you can also access support through telehealth services. For more information visit Services Australia.
You can also call Service NSW on 13 77 88 for information on how to access local support.
Support after bushfires
Specialist mental health Bushfire Recovery Clinicians are available in bushfire-affected regions across NSW. To get in contact with a Bushfire Recovery Clinician, contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.
Farmers and business owners affected by bushfires can also call the Mental Health Line. You'll be able to speak to counsellors and peer support.
Support after floods
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) provides mental health support for people affected by flood. Contact your local RAMHP coordinator to find help in your local area. You can also access fact sheets, podcasts and self-help tools on the RAMHP website.
Northern Rivers Safe Haven hubs
Safe Haven North Coast hubs offer free professional mental health services to the local community. They support people in immediate distress and those who are feeling overwhelmed or vulnerable.
You don't need an appointment or referral. Hubs are now open in the Woodburn, Mullumbimby, Murwillumbah and Lismore areas.
Support during drought
NSW DroughtHub – The hub provides resources to support your wellbeing during and after drought.
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (NAMHP) – This program offers mental health support to people in across NSW.
Active Farmers – This non-profit brings people together through group fitness and other activities.
Rural Agribusiness Wellbeing Plan – Information to support your mental health.
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
The organisations below support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:
- Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation delivers professional, culturally sensitive, social and wellbeing services. You must be 18 or older.
- The National Indigenous Postvention Service (NIPS) is a Thirrili program. It provides support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples affected by suicide or other trauma.
- The Reimagine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hub provides resources about the NDIS. The hub also includes resources for people who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Yarn Safe is part of Headspace. It offers information for young people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Telephone counselling and support
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call Triple Zero (000) or go to your nearest hospital emergency department.
The following are free services available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 provides professional help, advice and referrals.
- Lifeline on 13 11 14, text and via online chat provides crisis support and suicide prevention services.
- Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978 or via online chat is for men with family and relationship concerns.
- Beyond Blue on 1800 51 23 48 provides family and relationship support services.
- For mental health support in your language, visit the Transcultural Mental Health Line or call 1800 648 911.
- Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 provides a counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25 years.
- 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 is a national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service.
- Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW on 1800 250 015 provides counselling, support and referrals for those affected by alcohol or other drugs.