support online and over the phone for young people in flood-affected regions

headspace wants young people in flood-affected parts of Australia to know mental health support is still available at this challenging time.

headspace CEO Jason Trethowan said sadly several headspace centres in Queensland and Northern New South Wales are temporarily closed due to flooding however young people in need could still access support via a range of phone and online services.

“What’s happening right now across parts of Northern New South Wales and Queensland is an awful tragedy and our thoughts go out to those impacted communities. We are also concerned by new flood affected communities in parts of Sydney and neighbouring regions,” Mr Trethowan said.

“We know events such as this can have a widespread and potentially long-lasting impact, particularly for young people,” Mr Trethowan said.

“headspace wants all young people affected by the flooding to know that there is always someone you can reach out to for support. For many, that will be family and friends. For young people who need professional support, headspace is here to help.

“We’re encouraging those unable to access face-to-face support to get in touch via our online and phone counselling service, eheadspace, operating between 9am and 1am AEDT every day of the year.

“We can also assist young people that need support with work and study via our Digital Work and Study program, which integrates clinical care with education and employment support.

headspace National Clinical Advisor Rupert Saunders said young people were especially vulnerable to the mental health consequences of natural disasters.

“It is important to remember there is no right or wrong way to react to a traumatic event. Some young people will experience sadness, anxiety and confusion. Others might feel numb and disconnected. These are normal reactions to not normal events.

“It is typical to experience disruptions to sleep and eating patterns in times of natural disaster, as well as changes in relationships or difficulty with routine activities.

“There are things young people can do to support their mental health in the days and weeks immediately following a traumatic event. They include: finding ways to connect with other people who make you feel safe and supported; doing things that promote a sense of calm; exploring ways to get involved in the response efforts can give you a sense of hope for recovery; building a routine you can follow to, and limiting exposure to traumatic information, perhaps by taking breaks from the news and social media.

“Those who need more support are encouraged to reach out to a professional mental health service, like headspace.”

There is also helpful information on the headspace website to assist young people and families impacted by natural disasters.