Many local residents have been affected by the recent Wattle Creek fire that swept through our community. For some, the impact of this natural disaster was felt immediately, but for others, processing the events that have unfolded will take time. We encourage those experiencing distress or crisis to call our 13 11 14 Crisis Support Line to speak with a trained Crisis Supporter 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Natural disasters like bushfires, floods, cyclones, drought and other traumatic ‘natural’ events are extremely challenging for the people directly affected. The stress caused following a natural disaster can lead to ‘burnout’ and physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. Some people will be able to manage the stress but for others it may be difficult to cope. Most people eventually heal and recover and go on to rebuild their lives.
What to expect when you call 13 11 14
Picking up the phone to ask for help can be tough, but on the other end of the 13 11 14 Crisis Support Line is a person who genuinely wants to listen.
When you call 13 11 14 our crisis supporters will:
Listen to your situation
Provide immediate support
Help you clarify your options and choices
Provide you with referral information in your area.
Possible impacts of a natural disaster
Feeling stressed, anxious, exhausted or confused
Feeling sad, overwhelmed or angry
Shock, feeling ‘numb’
Uncertainty about the future
Feeling lonely, isolated or withdrawn
Feeling unwell – headaches, difficulty sleeping, eating, weight loss/gain
Resentment or blaming others
Increased substance use
Thoughts of suicide or self-harm
Strategies to help you cope with a natural disaster
Recovery takes time. It is important to allow yourself time to process your circumstances and regain a sense of normalcy. There are things you can do to heal and rebuild.
1. Recognise when it's getting too much
Watch out for signs of stress and get extra support when things become overwhelming. Allow yourself extra time to get things done.
Release your emotions and tension by talking to someone you trust. This can help put things into perspective. It’s likely others in your community are experiencing similar feelings so this gives everyone an opportunity to release negative feelings and discuss practical ways to deal with the situation.
3. Recognise your strengths
Your skills and abilities can help you cope under pressure. If you are having trouble identifying your strengths, ask a loved one to help you list some strengths that will help you in your current circumstances.
4. Develop an action plan
Dcide who’s going to do what and when. Summarise your financial situation and discuss your options with your bank to alleviate stress of any financial concerns. Having a plan will help you feel you are making progress.
5. Get help
Lean on family and friends. Strong support networks can provide emotional or practical support. Explain your needs and tell them exactly how they can help. Make a list of places to go to for help e.g. financial assistance, emotional support, your GP a helpline Like Lifeline.
6. Consider professional help
If you don’t feel some return to normal after four weeks, seek professional help (earlier if needed).