Emotional and trauma support after a flood
Natural disasters, cleaning up and recovery can take a toll on your mental and physical health. It’s vital people seek support and look after their own and their loved ones' wellbeing.
Trauma, depression and anxiety
Research by the Black Dog Instituteshows post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological distress, depression, and anxiety is heightened in flood-affected areas compared to unaffected areas.
For face-to-face support, please visit your nearest flood recovery centre.
Please reach out for immediate support on the following crisis numbers:
- In a life-threatening situation, call Triple Zero on 000
- Mental Health Line open 24/7 on 1800 011 511
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Beyond Blue on 1800 51 23 48
- Find other 24/7 crisis lines.
There are also NSW Health factsheets available on:
Prioritise your safety and physical health
Dealing with immediate threats to your safety is the priority during a disaster. In the recovery and clean up afterwards, prioritise your physical health by following these guidelines:
- Use bottled, boiled or disinfected water until you know the water is safe.
- Wash your hands with soap and safe water (that has been boiled or disinfected) after handling things that are contaminated with floodwater or sewage.
- If boiled or disinfected water is not available, use alcohol-based products to disinfect your hands.
- Treat any open cut or sore that has been exposed to floodwater by washing with soap and covering with a plaster and contact a doctor for treatment advice (such as a tetanus shot).
- Don’t allow children to play in floodwater areas or play with flood-damaged toys until they have been disinfected.
- Throw away spoiled food, especially
- if it has come into direct contact with floodwater
- anything in the fridge if it has been left above 5°C for more than 4 hours
- anything in containers with screw caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soft drink bottles), twist caps, flip-top lids and home-canned foods.
Read more guidance about cleaning up safely after a flood.
Looking after your mental health
After the immediate threat of danger has passed, you may notice your mental health and wellbeing has been affected.
It's important to seek medical, emotional and mental health support.
Headspace have a guide to coping with the stress of natural disasters.
There are also Headspace resources for helping young people deal with the impact of natural disasters.
You can also reach out to your doctor or medical specialist. Telehealth services are available, providing remote medical advice and support.
For further information and support:
- Head to Health for a range of mental health resources
- Mensline on 1300 789 978 - telephone and online counselling services for men
- Relationships Australia for family and relationship support services
- ReachOut helps parents support their teenagers through everyday issues including how to deal with at-home study stress due to coronavirus
- Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health provides self help resources for people living outside metropolitan areas
You can also get in touch with a social worker through Services Australia.
Support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Beyond Blue has helpful information and resources, including flyers and videos, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Head to Health
Head to Health provides information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and families who have a lived experience of mental health issues.
Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation was founded in 1980 to help all Aboriginal people:
- who had been directly affected by past government policies
- separated from their families and culture through forced removal, being fostered, adopted or raised in institutions.
Link-Up (NSW) delivers professional, culturally sensitive and confidential research, reunions and social, emotional and wellbeing services to those over the age of 18.
The National Indigenous Postvention Service (NIPS) is a program of Thirrili that provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support to individuals, families and communities affected by suicide or other trauma.
Calls to 1800 805 801 are answered by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander advocate. If the call goes to the message bank, leave your name and contact number and someone will call back as soon as possible.
The Reimagine Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples hub has resources about the NDIS for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who live with a psychosocial disability. Resources include videos and learning activities for people who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Yarn Safe is part of Headspace and offers information for young people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
Safety and family violence
The safety of women and children is a priority and domestic and family violence is never OK.
Essential services, including the police and courts, are here to help you stay safe.
Crisis accommodation, counselling and other support services are also available.
Support and resources
The NSW Domestic Violence Line is always here for you. Call 1800 65 64 63.
It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Interpreters and Text Telephone (TTY) are available too.
The NSW Domestic Violence Line can:
- explain services and support available to you
- help you with your safety plan
- refer you to support services, such as counselling
- help you contact the police, courts or lawyers
- help you find a safe place to stay
- help with transport for you and your children.
Can’t talk right now?
Use the 1800RESPECT online chat service instead of calling.
Stay safe online
If there is a chance someone will check which websites you visit or use technology in other ways to control or harass you, learn how to stay safe online.
When using the Service NSW app, you can log in as a guest or complete a webform if there is a chance someone may check where you have been. Find out more on Service NSW.
If you need accommodation urgently, call Link2home on 1800 152 152. The information and telephone referral service is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also visit this page for more on Emergency accommodation.
Information on more services
Find out about other services and supports on the Department of Communities and Justice website.