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When a flood happens in a community

When a flood happens in a community it can be very upsetting for people, but there is a lot family, friends, volunteers and the community can do to help those that are impacted.
Helpful thinking: Your thinking may have shifted to be more negative, for example, “Bad things always happen to people around me”. Our thoughts have a direct impact on how we feel. If you notice that your thinking has shifted to see the world as more unpredictable and dangerous, you are more likely to be feeling sad, helpless or scared. It helps to change our way of thinking to more helpful thought patterns. Firstly, we need to be aware of our thinking and catch our negative thoughts. The second step is to come up with a more helpful and positive thought, that puts us more in control. For example, “This is hard and it takes a lot of work, but I’ll just keep doing little things each day that make it better.”
Maintain social connections: We know that people need people. After a disaster, being with people can give us a sense of belonging, of feeling loved and cared for and that we’re not alone. Reconnecting with others is important for our wellbeing – but also for theirs. Helping out a community member who has suffered in the flood – or just lending an ear – can give us a sense of purpose and increase our own motivation and energy.
Making time for pleasurable activities: Doing what you enjoy is good for you. After a disaster, many people feel like they have lost control of their life. Finding a new balance between work, getting life back on track and looking forward to doing something pleasurable gives us hope. So, plan something you like to do – watch a DVD, go for a bushwalk, go out for a night with friends, watch a game of football, or go to bed early with a good book.
Be kind to yourself: Give yourself time to adjust – it can take time to bounce back. Keep reminding yourself that things will get better and you have the skills to manage. Ask for help if you need it. Try to avoid self-medicating (using alcohol or other drugs to cope) and instead express your feelings through journaling, art, or talking to friends.
Things should slowly go back to normal and you should feel better over time. If that doesn’t happen and you are still struggling after 2-3 months, talk to your GP. For more information and specific help for children: www.psychology.org.au/for-the-public/Psychology-topics/Disasters

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