Thousands of individuals, families and communities in and around Auckland have been touched by the recent floods. Many are still coming to terms with the loss of human life, damage to property and the destruction of livelihoods. Others are rallying together to provide much needed moral and financial support. As the clean-up continues, families are faced with the real presence of the disaster: repairing property, negotiating insurance claims and juggling financial problems.
Being exposed to a natural disaster, either directly through lived experience or indirectly through the media, stirs up various feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and frustration. Learning to recognise these reactions and emotions as normal will help families better understand these feelings and become more comfortable and effective in coping with them. Supporting your child or teenager during this time is especially vital. Talking and listening to them about the event can help them process their feelings. How well they will cope, or manage any trauma, will depend on specific risk factors in existence before, during and after the event.
Young people may exhibit or experience a wide range of emotional reactions, and in most cases, psychological symptoms of distress will settle down in the weeks following. However, parents and caregivers need to remain vigilant in monitoring their children during this time and checking in with them regularly to reassure them that what they are feeling is considered normal.
Get Ready is a Government website that provides information and resources to help you manage after the impact of a natural disaster and support your physical and mental health. To access, click here.
Our Auckland is a relief fund set up to provide emergency financial relief to those affected most by the floods. To access, click here.
Auckland Flood Relief Support has information resources written in several languages regarding practical and emotional support. To access, click here.
For more information on the emotional response to flooding you can access resources and information from these Australian organisations:
Royal Far West has developed a 'Resilient Kids Toolkit' - a free evidence-based kit to support children emotionally impacted by natural disasters and other trauma. It offers simple and effective ways to support children as they recover, strengthen their mental health and build resilience through connection, communication and play. To access, click here.
The MacKillop Institute works with communities, schools and families in Australia to provide evidence-based programs and have developed a number of useful flood support resources for parents, educators and volunteers. To access, click here.
One of the programs offered by The MacKillop Institute is called 'Stormbirds'. The program creates a safe space for children and young people to practice new ways of thinking and responding to change and loss following natural disaster events. To learn more about the program, click here. Or to download the pdf, click here.
eMHPrac (e-Mental Health in Practice) has also created a factsheet that provides a list of, evidence-based, free, and low-cost digital mental health resources on preventing and managing mental health issues after a natural disaster. To download the pdf, click here.
Alternatively, if your distress extends beyond 2-3 weeks, and feel the need to talk with someone to manage your mental health, you can free call or text 1737 to speak to a trained professional. Or click here to view the website.
If you have serious concerns about your own or someone else’s mental health, then you can call Lifeline on 0508 828 865 available 24/7 and speak with a professional trained in suicide prevention. Or click here to access the website.