Dominion Post Editorial: Psychological damage can linger long after flood waters recede

Flooding differs from some other types of disaster as it is often possible to prevent the impacts, and also the lengthy recovery period afterwards.  The long recovery time can increase the risk of secondary stressors – those stressors that are indirectly related to the flooding,  such as economic strain.

Mental health impacts include: bereavement; economic problems for families; behavioural problems in children; increased substance use and/or misuse; increased domestic violence; as well as exacerbating, precipitating or provoking people’s existing problems with their mental wellbeing.

Often, people’s experiences, which reflect the personal and social meanings of the event for them, have more influence on the psychosocial impact of the event than the event itself.

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