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Services rally to help people affected by Tropical Cyclone Seroja

Published on 29 Apr 2021

When Tropical Cyclone Seroja crossed the Western Australian coast on Sunday 11 April 2021 it bought with it devastating winds and rain. The physical aftermath was devastating with phone and power outages and extensive property damage across the Midwest. 

For many in the region it was and continues to be a challenging time.  During and after a natural disaster, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, unsettled and disrupted.

As part of a whole of government response, the region’s mental health, alcohol and other drug services have been ‘on the ground’ supporting the community through this devastating time.

There are over ten specialised mental health, alcohol and other drug services in the region, which are supported by the network of General Practitioners, psychologists and other primary care services.

Service providers are adapting to the challenges of loss of power and phone services, property damage and road closures, supporting clients over the phone or in person where possible, cancelling non-urgent activities, expanding clinic hours, and providing food parcels and other assistance to vulnerable clients.

The Mental Health Commission has provided updates to the State Emergency Coordination Group and State Recovery Coordination Group, on behalf of the sector, with the WA Country Health Service participating in local recovery planning groups.

Thank you to all of our mental health, alcohol and other drug support staff in the region.

In supporting your community in this time of need, you are truly amazing Western Australians.

Tips for people affected by disasters

Ways to support your mental health and wellbeing

  • Focus on making daily decisions and actions, to start feeling in control again.
  • Make time for rest, even if you can’t sleep.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals and drink lots of water.
  • Keep a daily routine – include exercise and something you enjoy.
  • Spend time talking or just being with people you care about.
  • Get involved in community activities.
  • Avoid making major life decisions too early.
  • Avoid using alcohol or drugs, or stimulants such as tea, coffee, caffeinated drinks and cigarettes.

Getting help

Most people will recover over time with the support of family and friends. Sometimes however, distressing events can be hard to overcome. After a crisis it can help to talk to someone who isn’t involved and is trained to listen.

Think about seeking professional help if you:

  • Continue to experience strong reactions more than two weeks after the disaster.
  • Feel very distressed, frightened, irritable or jumpy a lot of the time.
  • Can’t carry out your normal roles at work, school or with your family.
  • Feel hopeless, despairing and think you cannot go on.
  • Are thinking of harming yourself or someone else.

Where to get help:

  • Your GP is a good place to start, and they can also refer you to other services. Call first if you’re unsure whether they are open, or if possible to have a telehealth appointment.
  • If you are at an evacuation centre, ask about how to access psychological support.
  • If you are worried about your child, contact your school to discuss support available.
  • Call a helpline or try online chat to speak to someone about how you’re feeling.
  • Search the My Services online directory, to find local specialised support for mental health, alcohol and other drug issues.

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