The below resources and Fact Sheets have been prepared to help you understand a bit more about some mental health challenges that people can experience. If you would like more information or assistance, please get in touch with us.

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eople may be at greater risk of depression and anxiety after experiencing a traumatic event like a bushfire, flood, cyclone or earthquake. Normal reactions include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Feeling numb and detached
  • Inability to focus
  • Inability to plan ahead
  • Constant tearfulness
  • Intrusive memories or bad dreams related to the event
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Constant questioning - "What if I had done x, y or z, instead?"
  • 'Replaying' the event and inventing different outcomes to be prepared in case it happens again

These reactions can be severe and are usually at their worst in the first week following the event, and in most cases will fade over the following month. If someone's day-to-day functioning is seriously impacted for more than two months after the event, it is important to discuss this with your GP or a mental health professional. The following flyers provide information about how to cope after a natural disaster:

For more information, visit


mergencies by their very nature are disruptive and stressful. What you, your family or friends have experienced is often a unique and personal event. It's normal to have a range of feelings in reaction to an abnormal situation. With time, and some simple steps, most people will cope well with the stress of an emergency. However, some people may need additional help to get through. The following flyers provide information about how to cope after an emergency situation:

View the Red Cross Disaster Recovery Resources


What is anxiety?

We all experience anxiety from time to time. It is a natural reaction to a high-pressure and stressful situation. For example, meeting deadlines, public speaking, or even doing something new and different can induce feelings of anxiety. But it can be hard to know when your anxiety is becoming too much. Some people experience anxious feelings for no apparent reason which continue long after the stressful event has passed.

Anxiety is more than a stressed or worried feeling. It is when those feelings don’t stop - when they continue and exist without a reason or cause. Anxiety is a serious condition that can affect your daily life and make it hard to cope. Someone who is diagnosed with anxiety finds it difficult to control these feelings.

What causes anxiety?

The cause of anxiety is different for everyone but it often develops from a combination of factors rather than one issue or event. Causes may include a family history of mental health problems, ongoing stressful events, physical health problems, substance use, or even personality factors.

Every person is different, and you may not always be able to find the cause of anxiety yourself. The most important thing is to recognise the signs and symptoms, and seek support.

What are the symptoms?

Anxiety symptoms are not always obvious as they often develop slowly over time. And because we all experience anxiety from time to time, it is hard to know how much is too much. Common symptoms include:

  • hot and cold flushes
  • racing heart
  • tightening of the chest
  • snowballing worries
  • obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviour

These are some of the symptoms you might experience. If you experience any of these symptoms for more than a few days, seek advice from a health professional such as your GP.

Source: beyondblue and Health Direct Australia

Printable Anxiety Fact Sheet


What is depression?

Everyone feels down from time to time, but when you’re depressed, that feeling of sadness is more intense and can last for weeks, months, or even years, and can occur for seemingly no apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood, it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health. 

What are the symptoms?

Depression affects men and women, young and old. It affects how you feel about yourself and the world around you. You might lose interest in doing things you normally enjoy, have irritable feelings and find it hard to concentrate. Depression makes everyday tasks more difficult. Symptoms include:

  • feeling sad, down or miserable most of the time
  • lost interest or pleasure in activities you usually enjoy
  • a lack of confidence
  • feelings of fatigue or a lack of energy
  • changes to your sleeping patterns (more or less sleep)
  • no appetite or sex drive
  • aches and pains

Depression can make you feel anxious and tearful, and it is more like a feeling of numbness than sadness.  If you have had these symptoms for more than two weeks, consult your GP.

What causes depression?

There is no apparent cause of depression yet there are many things linked to its development. Life changing events such as bereavement, loss of employment, family history, substance use, serious medical illness, and even having a baby can cause depression. You may also become depressed for no apparent reason at all.

Anyone can be vulnerable to depression: in Australia, one in four women, and one in six men experience an episode of clinical depression in their life. Depression is a diagnosable illness.

How to recover from depression?

Most people can make a full recovery from depression but there is no one proven way to recover - it’s different for everyone. Help from health professionals, a range of effective treatments, and things you can do for yourself can all help you recover and stay well.

Treatments can include psychological: talking to a health professional; medical: antidepressants and other medicine; eating well and exercising; and generally taking care of your body and mind. Focussing on the positives and doing the things that make you feel good will also help. 

Source: beyondblue and Health Direct Australia

Printable Depression Fact Sheet