Emergencies and Disasters
When natural disasters and emergencies happen, it can be a challenging time.
During and after a natural disaster, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed, unsettled and disrupted.
Mental health, alcohol and other drug services across Western Australia are 'on the ground’ working to support their communities every day. During a disaster they work hard to keep services available and support their communities.
At a State level, the Mental Health Commission coordinates with other agencies through the State Recovery Coordination Group, on behalf of the mental health, alcohol and other drug sector.
Looking after yourself and your family after a disaster
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
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.
Be aware that you have been through an extremely stressful event and give yourself
permission to feel bad
Your community and local professionals
will want to support you
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Fact sheet - looking after you and your family after a disaster
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