Breadcrumbs

Low - Metro Adelaide disaster recovery information

Low - people experiencing a normal stress and grief response

For people experiencing a normal stress and grief response who would benefit from some support to help get things back on track.

Often people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems, however, some people may need additional support to help them cope.

Adult services

Psychological First Aid

Psychological first aid is based on the understanding that people affected by disasters will experience a range of early reactions that impact on their emotional wellbeing.

It is most commonly used in the days and weeks following the disaster; however the time frames may vary depending on the nature and impact on the community.

Psychological First Aid aims to help people affected by a disaster by:

  • Helping people to feel safe, connected to others, calm and hopeful
  • Access to social and emotional support
  • Reducing initial distress, meeting the more immediate needs, promoting flexible coping and encouraging adjustment
  • Providing both practical and emotional support
  • Providing information and links to other support services.

Depending on the nature and impact of the disaster, SA Health may engage Red Cross SA to provide Psychological First Aid and pathways to care for affected communities.

More information

Referral pathway

Self-referral

Red Cross SA

Telephone: (08) 8100 4500
Website: www.redcross.org.au

Psychological First Aid can be accessed via the Relief and Recovery Centres (if established).
For more information visit www.sa.gov.au/recovery or contact the Recovery Hotline on 1800 302 787. There are also a range of telephone and online support services available. For more information visit the resources page.

General Practitioner (GP)

Reactions to disasters can be significant, particularly in the first few weeks following the event. However, in most cases, people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems. If a person’s day-to-day functioning is seriously affected, it’s important to discuss it with a General Practitioner who will be able to link with appropriate mental health supports.

Children and young people

Children and young people exposed to disasters will react in different ways. Some will return to their usual functioning and settle back into routines within a few weeks, however some may continue to experience difficulties and need extra support to cope and adapt.

It is important to be aware of changes in a child or young person’s thinking, behaviour, level of activity, physical health or emotional state so they can be linked in with supports early.

The impact of a traumatic event and the length of time it takes to recover will be different for every child and depends on many different factors, including:

  • The nature of the traumatic event
  • Individual characteristics of the child such as their age, developmental stage and temperament
  • Whether there has been significant disruption to the child’s life, or whether the child has been able to return to their usual routine
  • The impact that the event has had on the child’s main support systems and how those around them are coping.

Common reactions to a traumatic event may include

  • Changes in their play, drawing, dreams or conversation
  • Regressive behaviour – behaving younger than they normally do
  • Difficulty managing big emotions
  • Wanting to stay close to a parent or caregiver
  • Fear and worry about the safety of themselves and others, including pets
  • Fear of separation from family members
  • Clinging to parents, siblings, or teachers
  • Trouble concentrating or paying attention
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Aggression or irritability toward parents, siblings, or friends
  • Increase in physical complaints, such as headaches and stomach-aches
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Changes in appetite and eating habits
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Increase in teens' risky behaviours, such as drinking alcohol, using substances, harming themselves, or engaging in activities that compromise their safety.

Helpful strategies

  • Calmly provide factual information about the incident and plans for ensuring their safety
  • Encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings
  • Assure children and young people that it is normal to feel sad and upset
  • Reassure parents/caregivers that it is common for children and young people to show regressive behaviour, particularly in younger children (for example thumb-sucking and bed-wetting)
  • Encourage parents or caregivers to actively involve children in recovery processes by giving them specific chores to help them feel they are helping to restore family life
  • Limit exposure to media coverage of the incident including on television, social media, radio, and in the newspaper
  • Encourage parents (and teachers) to access supports to assist in their own recovery if needed.

During periods of disruption and change, children can feel more secure with structure and routine. As much as possible, maintain normal routines such as regular mealtimes and bedtimes.

Referral pathway

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

For support, information and links to appropriate services where there are concerns about the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

Telephone: (08) 8161 7198
Website: www.wch.sa.gov.au

Department for Education and Child Development Social Work Incident Support Service team (SWISS)

For support, information and links to appropriate services relating to children in child-care, pre-school, or school-aged children or young people.

Website: www.education.sa.gov.au

  • Department for Education Emergency Information Hotline: 1800 000 279
  • Social Work Incident Support Service (SWISS) helpline: (08) 8314 4100
  • General enquiries: (08) 8226 1000

General Practitioner (GP)

Reactions to disasters can be significant, particularly in the first few weeks following the event. However, in most cases, people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems. If a person’s day-to-day functioning is seriously affected, it’s important to discuss it with a General Practitioner who will be able to link with appropriate mental health supports.

Helpful resources

Older people

Whilst older people may be considered more at risk during disasters, they also have many strengths that contribute to their ability to prepare for, cope, adapt, and help others during times of crisis, including:

  • Knowledge and wisdom
  • Coping skills
  • Self-efficacy
  • Optimism
  • Previous experience
  • Resourcefulness
  • Community connections.

Nonetheless, following a disaster older people may experience concerns about practical issues, feel more isolated, and concerned about supporting friends and family members who have been affected. Others may experience significant distress and need more support, reassurance and help with problem solving.

Referral pathway

General Practitioner (GP)

Reactions to disasters can be significant, particularly in the first few weeks following the event. However, in most cases, people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems. If a person’s day-to-day functioning is seriously affected, it’s important to discuss it with a General Practitioner who will be able to link with appropriate mental health supports.

Aboriginal communities

Aboriginal people’s views of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing are very different to those of non-Aboriginal people. This influences the way in which Aboriginal people experience and recover from disasters. Therefore any recovery programs and services need to be delivered in a culturally appropriate way.

More information: Aboriginal Mental Health Clinical Practice Guideline and Pathways – A culturally appropriate guide for working with Aboriginal mental health consumers (PDF 3526KB).

National Indigenous Critical Response Service

The National Indigenous Critical Response Service has been funded by the Commonwealth Government to:

  • Provide a critical response to support individuals, families and communities affected by traumatic events (including suicide) that is culturally responsive to their needs
  • Strengthen community capacity and resilience where there have been high levels of trauma
  • Better understand and respond to critical incidents and strengthen service collaboration
  • Provide advocacy on behalf of families to ensure they are able to access the supports they need.

Critical Response Support Advocate call 1800 805 801 (24 hours, 7 days a week).

General Practitioner (GP)

Reactions to disasters can be significant, particularly in the first few weeks following the event. However, in most cases, people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems. If a person’s day-to-day functioning is seriously affected, it’s important to discuss it with a General Practitioner who will be able to link with appropriate mental health supports.

Helpful resources

Culturally and linguistically diverse communities

Many Culturally and Linguistically diverse communities demonstrate great resilience, often having a range of experiences and skills in dealing with emergencies.

However, they may also have increased vulnerabilities for experiencing high levels of stress and grief and require culturally sensitive support to assist in their recovery from a disaster.

A person’s response and recovery from the disaster may be influenced by:

  • Previous trauma experiences, even if previous events have been very different to the disaster
  • Access to family and social support networks
  • Access to information on relief and recovery arrangements may be limited due to language and/or cultural differences
  • Engagement with support services may be limited by language and/or cultural differences
  • Impacts of human-led disasters which may have involved people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, even if the event was in a different geographic location. People may have concerns about being stigmatised and targeted themselves.

Referral pathway

General Practitioner (GP)

Reactions to disasters can be significant, particularly in the first few weeks following the event. However, in most cases, people will recover from disasters with the support of family, friends and other natural support systems. If a person’s day-to-day functioning is seriously affected, it’s important to discuss it with a General Practitioner who will be able to link with appropriate mental health supports.

More information

Self-help resources

beyondblue

beyondblue provides online and telephone-based information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live.

Website: www.beyondblue.org.au
Telephone: 1300 22 4636

myCompass

myCompass is free online, interactive self-help program. myCompass is designed to address mild to-moderate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression through personalised treatments delivered entirely online.

Website: www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

Lifeline

Lifeline provides online and telephone support and resources, including helpful factsheets and information, and online self-help tools.

Website: www.lifeline.org.au
Telephone: 13 11 14

^ Back to top