Queensland Flood Crisis
January 25, 2011
The following information has been provided by Dr Rob Gordon and provides some ideas to assist your and your family following the Queensland floods and other disasters.
Limit exposure to news and media. If you want to know what is going on, avoid newspaper and TV coverage and listen to one or two radio news bulletins a day. Information provided in words helps us stay separate and think about the situation rather than just react emotionally.
Talk to your family members and friends about their reactions, what they think about the disaster and how it is affecting them. Discussion helps re-connect people and brings us back to the reality of life in Victoria.
Talk to children who may not realise the floods are two or three days drive in a fast car away from here. If adults are upset and it is raining, it is easy for children to think the flood is very close to home. Children and adolescents’ reactions are closely related to how adults react. Try to keep strong emotions private or share them with other adults who will understand.
Make sure you go beyond the terrible moments you have seen in the media and recognise that those people have moved on. Focus on what must be happening to them now rather than the moments the media keep replaying from hours or days ago. They are no longer in pain and fear, whatever the outcome.
Think about the help and assistance that will be offered to those affected. All states have similar recovery arrangements. There will be a lot of help available.
Take time out, switch off the media and do something that belongs to your own life. Get some distance between you and the floods - working on your own recovery issues is a good way of doing this.
Keep up your normal routines even though they may not make as much sense as they did. Sometimes people feel their lives have no bearing on the current disaster and they want to make changes. The time to make a change is after the event, when it has been given a lot of thought.
Take time to enjoy yourself and remember that being unhappy does not help the flood affected people. You still have the right to have a holiday period and to continue your own recovery.
Make sure you continue to take good care of your health; strain and emotion will be an added stress. Caring for health includes: eating, rest and sleep, exercise and a social life.
Where the Queensland floods re-activate upsetting memories or other feelings from the fires, consider talking to someone to help you put it all in perspective and get the disturbing memories out of your mind. If talking to friends and family does not help, and the experiences are not settling, consider talking to someone from one of the health or counselling agencies in your area.
The following telephone counselling services are available:
Lifeline 131 114
Parentline 13 22 89
Mensline 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800
Relationships Australia 1300 364 277