South Australia’s chief psychiatrist recommends that the Murray River community seek mental health support sooner or later as they enter the recovery phase from last month’s flood events.
- South Australia’s leading psychologist says flood-hit communities need to consider long-term mental health
- SA’s government pledged $1 million in mental health funding to affected communities
- Flood-affected residents say support from friends and family is key to resilience
Many residents of Riverland and Murrayland have spent weeks preparing for the influx of water flowing downstream from neighboring Victoria.
But this long period before the disaster caused anxiety, stress and sleepless nights, especially affecting those prepared to evacuate like Old Calperum’s resident Charlene Lloyd.
“It was the first time our embankment had experienced flooding, so it was pretty scary and I really didn’t know if it could handle it,” she said.
“You wake up at 2am and you have water under your feet…if you had to evacuate, would you try to get the animals out?”
Lloyd says the support of friends and family was essential during that stressful time to keep the family spirits high.
“The previous owner was ringing all the time just asking if the embankment was being maintained and if we were okay,” she said.
“People kept in touch with us to see if we survived and if we needed help.”
long term considerations
John Braley, chief psychiatrist at SA Health, said while the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster may provide relief, long-term mental health considerations are important for those affected. rice field.
“With community ties, the presence of disaster relief agencies and the support of volunteer agencies, the post-first response phase can actually be a very positive time,” he said. rice field.
“It could take a year, two years, or more for people to stop working because they are too busy to reflect on the impact this has had on them.”
As part of the flood response, the state government provided $1 million in mental health funding to flood-affected communities.
This package will provide affected residents with more telemedicine support and more informal local services such as community counseling.
Dr. Braley said it’s especially important for people to access support early.
“It’s pretty clear that if people get counseling sooner, it can have a positive impact on their future,” he said.
Care within the community
Mid-Murray City Council Mayor Simone Bailey has encouraged locals affected by the floods to talk about it in their communities.
Bailey has been with the Mid-Murray Suicide Prevention Network for two years.
She says she witnessed the group “change lives in a big way.”
After seeing the devastation in towns such as Blanchetown and Morgan, Bailey organized the first of many coffee catch-ups, giving locals a place to talk about health.
“We listened to the community and listened to their needs,” she said.
“What we’ve learned is that going out and talking helps a lot. When you’re having a coffee or chat session, suggest that the community get together and have a barbecue and talk to their peers. doing.”