Managing the impact of a natural disaster

Recovering after being affected by a natural disaster can be a long and difficult process. As the acute and immediate effects of a disaster ease, many will continue to struggle in the longer term as life does not simply return ‘back to normal’ once the flood waters recede. There will be ongoing clean up, damage assessment, and rebuilding and repairs. Regular income can take some time to be restored. The emotional and mental health impact may be long lasting and it is important to seek support and assistance now.

We have provided some resources below listing where to find help for specific areas after experiencing a natural disaster. You can also call us on 1300 244 910 between 8am-11pm AEDT everyday for confidential support.

Here are some places you can contact for extra support during or after a natural disaster.

Dial 000 in a life-threatening emergency

Lifeline
24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention
13 11 14 – 24/7 crisis support helpline
0477 131 114 – 24/7 text message support
24/7 online chat is also available: go to the Lifeline website
www.lifeline.org.au
Beyond Blue
The National Depression Initiative that offers expert information on recognising the signs of depression.
Beyond Blue Helpline:
1300 22 4636
www.beyondblue.org.au
State Emergency Service (SES)
Contact your local state emergency service to non-life-threatening emergency support. Dial 000 only in life-threatening situations during an emergency.
132 500Search for your local SES website
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army provides services for people during disaster recovery. Call for help or visit the link for more.
1800 825 955www.salvationarmy.org.au/need-help/disasters-and-emergencies
Australian Red Cross
The Red Cross supports people in communities where a disaster has occurred.
1800 733 276www.redcross.org.au
Disaster Assist
This website has information about getting help during or after a disaster, and has a live map where you can view declared disasters in your LGA.
www.disasterassist.gov.au
Services Australia
This website has resources linking to financial assistance and help available for people affected by natural disasters. Follow the link to find relevant resources for your area.
www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/natural-disaster

If you are in an area that has been affected by a natural disaster, make sure you reach out for support! There is support out there. We have included many resources below but you can also contact your local networks, such as your council, as well as your insurer, your wholesaler, and the support offices of any organisations you may be a member of. You don’t need to recover alone – there is a community out there to support you.


If you are struggling emotionally or mentally after experiencing a disaster, please reach out. We have included some links to some organisations that have resources for specific areas of recovery on this page. Our Useful Links page has some links to general mental health support organisations, click here for more. You can also contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are upset or in crisis, and remember to dial 000 for emergency services if you are unsafe or in danger.


Phoenix Australia

Phoenix Australia has a wealth of information about dealing with the impact of trauma. Below are some helpful links related to coping with the aftermath of a disaster.

Disaster Mental Health Hub

Visit site here

Disaster Recovery Toolkits (for health practitioners)

Visit site here

Disaster Resources

This page has links to other resources for dealing with specific disasters and resources for coping with trauma.

Visit site here

Video: Anger in the aftermath of a disaster

Watch video here

Video: CRANA+ | Responding to disaster (for health practitioners)

Watch video here

Promoting Resilience & Recovery Trial

Regional and rural Victorians who have been emotionally impacted by bushfires, drought, or COVID-19 can access this free skills-based program aimed at promoting wellbeing and recovery. More information in the link below.

Visit site here


Headspace

Headspace has lots of great mental health resources, in particular for young people.

This page, ‘How to cope with the stress of natural disasters’, includes advice to help with the aftermath of a disaster. You can also browse Headspace for other resources and advice.

Read article here →


Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue is a great resource for any issues that are causing you emotional or mental distress. It might be helpful to browse through the website, and they also have a helpline you can call for support.

This page ‘Natural disasters and your mental health’ has some specific advice for coping with a disaster.

Read article here →


R U OK?

R U OK? have provided a free manual that you can download with information for helping someone who is doing it tough due to a natural disaster or other emergency. This is a great resource if you want to reach out to someone in your community.

The Mateship Manual

Visit site here


Lifeline

Lifeline has provided some resources here, and further down the page are some natural disaster ‘toolkits’ you can browse through.

Recovering after a natural disaster

Visit site here


Australian Psychological Society

APS has included some resources and advice for recovery after a disaster. There are some links to explore on this page, including psychological ‘first aid’ information.

Recovering from disasters

Visit site here


Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross has compiled some resources to help specifically with returning home and repairing damage after a crisis, as well as coping emotionally with those changes.

Coping after a crisis

Visit site here

Returning home and coping after a crisis

Visit site here


SANE Australia

SANE Australia has provided some articles about coping with emotions after a disaster and how to implement some practical self-care tips.

Effective self-care during disaster and recovery

Read article here →

Understanding trauma through disaster recovery

Read article here →


Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling

Open Arms is an organisation which provides mental health support and counselling for Australia’s veterans and their families. They have a lot of helpful mental health resources.

Resilience and recovery from natural disaster

Read article here


SuperFriend

SuperFriend is an organisation that provides support and training to promote workplace wellbeing. They have a lot of free resources available. Their resources are largely aimed at workplaces and workplace leaders.

Your guide to managing a crisis

Read article here


The Australian Government National Recovery and Resilience Agency has also provided a list of resources and support. They have a helpful map tool available where you can search by area for disaster recovery services and support: click here to visit the map tool.

New South Wales Resources

Overview of funding available after 2022 floodsnema.gov.au/financial-help-floods-Oct23
Financial Assistance – Information about the different Disaster Recovery payments available here.
There is also support available for eligible New Zealanders affected by floods.
www.service.nsw.gov.au/floods/financial-assistance
Storm and flood assistance for businesses (NSW)www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/storm-and-flood-assistance-businesses
Mental Health Support (NSW)www.service.nsw.gov.au/campaign/storm-and-flood-assistance-businesses/mental-health-support
The February and March 2022 storm and flood disaster recovery small business grant – application information (NSW)www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/apply-february-and-march-2022-storm-and-flood-disaster-recovery-small-business-grant
QLD and NSW Floods – support and fundingrecovery.gov.au/queensland-and-new-south-wales-floods-0#/map
Resilience NSW – Helping communities rebuild and recover after natural disasters like floods, droughts and bushfires.www.nsw.gov.au/resilience-nsw

Queensland Resources

2022 Flood Recovery (QLD) – resources and funding informationwww.qld.gov.au/alerts
Support and funding for Queenslanderswww.qld.gov.au/alerts/i-need-help/floodhelp
QLD and NSW Floods – support and funding recovery.gov.au/queensland-and-new-south-wales-floods-0#/map
Fact Sheet: Queensland Floods Practitioner Tipswww.phoenixaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Queensland-Floods-Practitioner-Self-care-Tip-Sheet-no-contact.pdf
Northern Queensland Primary Health Network – resources available to health care professionals providing services in response to the flooding.www.nqphn.com.au/townsville-floods-recovery-for-health-professionals
Sustainable Brisbane – Helping you recover and build back better from flooding (resources and tips) www.sustainablebrisbane.com.au/flood-recovery
Healthy North Coast – Disaster Management Information for North Coast communitieshnc.org.au/disaster-management/community-members
Healthy North Coast – Flood Recovery Grants Program hnc.org.au/community-wellbeing-and-resilience-flood-recovery-grants-program
Healthy North Coast – Bushfire Recovery Community Grants hnc.org.au/community-grants

Victoria Resources

Overview of funding available after 2022 floodsnema.gov.au/financial-help-floods-Oct23
Overview of support for those affected by October 2022 floods – this page includes a video on how to claim payments and links to some of the different available payments. www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/victorian-floods-october-2022
Financial crisis support – financial help after an emergency or disaster. Click the link for more. services.dffh.vic.gov.au/financial-crisis-support
Personal Hardship Assistance Program – financial help to those experiencing financial hardship in meeting relief needs after a natural disaster related emergency. Click the link for more. services.dffh.vic.gov.au/personal-hardship-assistance-program
Victorian Emergency relief assistance payment – to pay for essential needs after a disaster. Complete the form available through the link to determine your eligibility. emergencypayments.dffh.vic.gov.au
Local council – contact your local council for up-to-date information on what support may be available to you, including potential financial assistance or emergency housing and accommodation. Click on the link to find the contact details of your local council. www.viccouncils.asn.au/find-your-council/council-contacts-list
Disaster Legal Help Victoriawww.disasterlegalhelp.org.au

Tasmania Resources

Overview of funding available after 2022 floodsnema.gov.au/financial-help-floods-Oct23
Disaster Recovery Allowance – support if you’ve lost income as a direct result of the Tasmanian Floods starting in October 2022. Click for more information.
There is also support available for eligible New Zealanders affected by floods.
www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/tasmanian-floods-october-2022-disaster-recovery-allowance
Emergency Assistance Grants are available for those affected by flooding, and emergency accomodation assistance is also available for those who need it. Click the link to find out more.communitiestas.smartygrants.com.au/EmergencyGrants
Business Tasmania Website – If your business has been impacted by recent weather events, visit this website to fill in the emergency assistance form or call 1800 440 026 to let them know how you have been impacted. www.business.tas.gov.au
Emergency Preparation Toolkit by Business Tasmania – safeguard your business before and after emergencies by implementing these suggestions.Click here to download Emergency Preparation Toolkit
Local council contact your local council for up-to-date information on what support may be available to you. Click on the link to find the contact details of your local council. www.lgat.tas.gov.au/tasmanian-councils/find-your-local-council

Bushfire recovery resources

Phoenix Australia: Australian Bushfires
Phoenix have developed a range of resources to support healthcare workers, first responders and community members after the bushfires.
www.phoenixaustralia.org/resources/bushfires/
Phoenix Australia: Bushfire Recovery Projects
A funded training that is free for eligible frontline workers, emergency services personnel, general practice staff and healthcare workers who supported the 19/20 bushfires.
www.phoenixaustralia.org/resources/bushfire-recovery
Australian Psychological Society: Recovering from bushfires
Recovery after a bushfire from a psychological perspective.
psychology.org.au/for-the-public/psychology-topics/disasters/bushfires/recovering-from-bushfires
Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy: Bushfire Recovery Resources 
Various resources and articles are listed here.
aabat.org.au/bushfire-recovery-resources/
VicEmergency: Recovering from a bushfire
General information about bushfire recovery, from practical tips to mental health support. Some of the resources are based in Victoria.
emergency.vic.gov.au/relief-and-recovery/661
SANE Australia: Life after bushfires
SANE provides several resources such as videos from other survivors, discussion forums, fact sheets and links to counselling.
www.sane.org/lifeafterbushfires
SANE Australia: Finding a way through your own bushfire recovery
Read this article about recovering from disaster. SANE has several blogs on this topic that may be helpful.
www.sane.org/information-stories/the-sane-blog/wellbeing/finding-a-way-through-your-own-bushfire-recovery
SANE Australia: The mental health impacts of Australia’s bushfire crisis
Information about the services offered by SANE Australia.
www.sane.org/information-stories/the-sane-blog/wellbeing/mental-health-impacts-australia-bushfire-crisis
AAIMH: Resources for Families Affected by Fires
Some resources for if you have been through a bushfire with young children and would like to support them emotionally and facilitate discussion.
www.aaimh.org.au/resources/resources-for-families-affected-by-fires/

Cyclone, flood, storm or severe weather resources

Phoenix Australia: Floods and cyclones mental health resources
Phoenix have developed a range of resources to support those impacted by flooding and other extreme weather events.
www.phoenixaustralia.org/resources/practitioner-advice-line-floods-and-cyclones/
RAMHP: Flood Support
The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program has provided a list of links to help services and appropriate mental health support.
ramhp.com.au/get-help-now/flood-support/
Australian Disaster Resilience Knowledge Hub: Flood recovery resources
A collection of resiliency and recovery resources.
knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/flood-recovery-resources/

Drought recovery resources

National Recovery and Resiliency Agency: Drought Support
This government agency has provided details about support programs for those impacted by drought.
recovery.gov.au/recovery-support/australias-drought
Australian Red Cross: Drought Resilience Program
The Red Cross has developed the drought resilience program for those living with the long-term impacts of drought and focuses on wellbeing. This link also leads to some other resources, including webinars and podcasts on this topic.
www.redcross.org.au/emergencies/drought-resilience-program/
RAMHP: Drought Support
The RAMHP has provided a list of resources and help services for those affected by drought or living in drought-affected communities.
ramhp.com.au/get-help-now/drought-support/

Climate Anxiety

While it can help to take a break from social media and reading about severe weather and natural disasters, there are some resources here to help you if this is something that affects you.

Climate Council: Dealing with climate anxiety: tips, tools and resourceswww.climatecouncil.org.au/dealing-climate-anxiety-tips-tools-resources/
Australian Red Cross: Coping with climate anxietywww.redcross.org.au/stories/climate-change/coping-with-climate-anxiety/
ReachOut: How to cope with anxiety about climate changeau.reachout.com/articles/how-to-cope-with-anxiety-about-climate-change
Headspace.com: How to deal with climate anxietywww.headspace.com/stress/climate-anxiety
Headspace.org: supporting your young person experiencing anxiety about climate changeheadspace.org.au/explore-topics/supporting-a-young-person/anxiety-about-climate-change/
Australian Psychological Society: Climate change
APS has provided resources and fact sheets on the topic for you to browse through.
psychology.org.au/for-the-public/psychology-topics/climate-change-psychology
Black Dog Institute: The implications of climate change on mental healthwww.blackdoginstitute.org.au/news/the-implications-of-climate-change-on-mental-health/
SANE Australia: Coping with distressing news events www.sane.org/information-stories/the-sane-blog/wellbeing/coping-with-shocking-news-events

Coronavirus (COVID-19) support

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic can affect everyone in different ways. We have provided a page of resources to help with mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19. Click here or on the image to visit our COVID-19 Wellbeing page.


In the wake of a disaster, it may be helpful to consider the use of a locum service to ease your workload and prioritise your own wellbeing. We have included some pharmacy locum details below, as well as the details of some rural assistance programs and some places where you can look for business support.

Pharmacy Emergency Locum Service (ELS)
ELS is operated by Raven’s Recruitment. You can call for free on 1800 991 541 24/7 or email on els@ravensrecruitment.com.au.
www.emergencylocumservice.com.au
Rural Locum Assistance Program (Rural LAP)
Rural LAP can provide locums for up to 14 days through a government program designed to ensure that regional health professionals (including pharmacists) can take leave.
www.rurallap.com.au/content/rural-lap-difference
Pharmacy Programs Administrator (PPA) Rural Support Programs
Ongoing support programs for rural pharmacists including allowances
www.ppaonline.com.au/programs/rural-support-programs
Rural Pharmacy Support Network
Networking and support for rural pharmacists, interns, and students
www.ruralpharmacysupportnetwork.com.au
Rural Financial Counselling
There is some information available here about rural financial counselling and regional small business support programs.
recovery.gov.au/programs/rural-financial-counselling
CRANA+
Mental health and wellbeing support for remote and isolated healthcare workers in Australia
You can call for free on 1800 805 391 24/7 for confidential support.
crana.org.au
The Pharmacy Guild of Australia
The Pharmacy Guild are lending their support to any of their members who have been impacted. Call 13 Guild (13 484 53) for assistance.
www.guild.org.au/news-events/news/2022/help-for-pharmacists-affected-by-floods
NewAccess for Small Business Owners
NewAccess is a free and confidential mental health coaching program for small business owners. NewAccess for Small Business Owners is available nationally by phone or video call. Call 1300 945 301 or enquire on their website.
www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/newaccess/newaccess-for-small-business-owners

If you or your workplace has been affected by a natural disaster or emergency event, you may wonder what your rights and entitlements are. We have included some helpful links to FairWork below. If you are in doubt about what entitlements apply to you, you can also contact your member organisations for further advice.

FairWork Australia
Contact FairWork directly if you would like more information about workplace rights and obligations.
Fair Work Online: www.fairwork.gov.au
Fair Work Infoline: 13 13 94
FairWork Ombudsman: Employment entitlements during natural disasters and emergencies
Read this fact sheet to find out about your entitlements during a natural disaster or emergency event.
www.fairwork.gov.au/tools-and-resources/fact-sheets/rights-and-obligations/employment-entitlements-during-natural-disasters-and-emergencies
FairWork Ombudsman: Flooding in parts of Australia
Workplaces and individuals may be affected by flooding in parts of Australia. Learn your workplace rights and responsibilities if you’ve been affected.
www.fairwork.gov.au/newsroom/news/queensland-and-northern-new-south-wales-floods

Reviewed 17 Oct 2022