Prepare for the mental health impacts of disasters

Being prepared is about having plans in place so that individuals, communities and services are able to minimise the mental health impacts of a disaster and recover more quickly.

Having a better understanding of the common emotional reactions to a disaster and knowledge of what support is available can assist with feeling more prepared in the event that a disaster occurs.

Emotional preparedness can also be supported by:

  • Thinking about how you or others might generally respond to high stress situations
  • Knowing the early warning signs that tell you that you or others around you are having difficulty coping
  • Identifying strategies that can assist with managing your stress levels and wellbeing
  • Thinking about potential decisions that might need to be made and developing a plan to assist in making decisions if a disaster occurs 
  • Knowledge of what support services are available and how (and when) to access them
  • Knowledge of the potential risks for disasters occurring in the local area (such as bushfires, floods, extreme heat, industrial incidents) and seek information from the local council regarding local emergency management plans
  • Attending local community forums that focus on disaster preparedness and community response and recovery planning
  • Connecting with others in the local community and sharing plans within existing support networks to keep each other informed.