Paying attention to your mental wellbeing crucial for recovery
Lifeline Community Recovery teams are currently on site at Moreton, Ipswich, Nambour, and Maryborough evacuation centres, providing psychological first-aid to locals impacted by the recent devastating weather events.
Community Recovery workers are trained specialists who work with local authorities to provide a coordinated response to help communities cope and recover from disaster events.
Lifeline Queensland General Manager, Luke Lindsay, stated that while having on the ground support is a vital service to support communities immediately impacted, it is important for everyone to pay attention to their mental wellbeing during and after events like this weekend.
"These significant events can create huge emotional impacts and recognising the stress people are experiencing can help with long-term recovery," Mr Lindsay said.
"Stress and anxiousness are genuine emotions, and people need to give themselves time and opportunity to process them.
"During a big event, like what we have seen over the last few days, we are running on adrenalin; we are concerned for our safety and that of our friends and family.
"But when you are physically safe, reality can hit regarding what you have just experienced and have to continue to deal with. Our minds can pile up with many feelings, and they can begin to weigh us down.
"That's why applying some 'psychological first aid' is vitally important, as it can begin the healing process," Mr Lindsay explained.
Tips to help manage your wellbeing by applying some 'psychological first aid' can include:
Recognising when it is getting too much. Take notice of any changes in your physical health, behaviours, or emotions that might indicate that things are getting too much for you and know that it is ok to feel that way.
Speaking to others about how you feel. Talking calmly and openly allows you to release negative emotions, helps to relieve tension and puts things in perspective.
Seek and accept help from others. We see communities come together in a time of need, and it is essential to accept the help offered. A strong support network reduces your sense of isolation; taking help allows you to get things done without feeling the burden alone.
Mr Lindsay said that it is not always easy for people to speak or strike up a conversation on how they are feeling, and if people find themselves in that situation, Lifeline is here to help.
"At any time, Lifeline is here to listen. We are a free, confidential support system. No one is ever alone; call or text us at any stage," he said.
"Importantly, taking some steps early on can help with long-term recovery because you have processed some of the emotions and experiences.
"It doesn't mean some people won't need more forms of professional help later on, but it begins the healing process. And it can allow you to make a plan for ongoing support," he said.
Contact Lifeline support services 24/7:
Telephone Crisis Support: 13 11 14
Text Crisis Support: 0477 13 11 14
Online Chat: www.lifeline.org.au/crisis-chat/
Read more about Lifeline's Community Recovery Teams.
Download our Getting through floods and extreme weather events toolkit (PDF)
For interviews with Luke Lindsay call Faith Jarvis on 0447 013 049 / firstname.lastname@example.org
UnitingCare delivers the 24 hour 13 11 14 Lifeline Crisis Support line through 10 Lifeline centres – providing suicide prevention services with a non-judgemental and compassionate listening ear. It also provides Lifeline's disaster recovery program, Community Recovery as well as individual and group support services.