Flood-affected residents starting to feel stress, anxiety

Cyclone Debbie' influence went far and wide, these floods near Lismore, NSW.
Cyclone Debbie' influence went far and wide, these floods near Lismore, NSW.

RESEARCH shows that communities impacted by a natural disaster can begin to experience increased and more profound stress about 6 months after the event.

With that in mind, Lifeline and the University of Rural Health have designed a program called 'Using Our Brains for a Change!' to assist those who have had a hard time post the Lismore flood.

The project is spearheaded by Professor of Mental Health and Psychological Wellbeing James Bennett Levy in partnership with Psychotherapist Ruth Rosenhek.

Ms Rosenhek currently works in Lismore with clients experiencing complex trauma as well as with depression, anxiety, and other issues related to individual and community well-being.

She was also personally impacted by the flood and worked with Helping Hands during the recovery.

They will be asking questions like:

  • How has it been for you?
  • Has getting back on your feet been a problem?
  • Have you been feeling low or anxious or giving yourself a hard time?
  • Have you had self-blaming thoughts like: "Others seem to have got over it completely - what's wrong with me?"

Participants of the program will learn what contemporary understandings of the human brain can tell us about moving forward after a natural disaster.

This program will draw on mindfulness, self-compassion and positive psychology practices, as well as neuroscience.

The group has been funded under the joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

The group will meet in Lismore every Wednesday from 5:30pm.

The first weekend will be on October 25.

To register, contact Niall Mulligan on 6622 4133 or email

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