Worried about mental well-being after the floods? You’re not alone. We’re here to help.
Flooded communities are known for their strong community spirit and can be proud of the way they’ve come together and helped each other through the recent floods. Now that you’re getting to grips with the practical problems that are still affecting so many of you, you may be experiencing challenging thoughts and feelings.
This leaflet explains how events such as the recent floods can affect you emotionally and psychologically. It gives some advice on what to do and where to get help if you’re concerned about yourself or someone else.
In the early days and weeks
Many people will be experiencing strong reactions following the recent floods across your county. Everyone is unique and will react differently, but typical reactions to such an extreme event can include:
These feelings are completely normal reactions.
For some people who have been flooded previously, these reactions may be compounded and might lead to feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
People who have been exposed to highly threatening situations can also experience flashbacks or nightmares. This is normal in the days and weeks following an extreme event.
We are all individuals and there is no right or wrong way to be coping or feeling.
We all have different ways of responding and circumstances can vary greatly, from those with strong extended networks to those who are more isolated or do not have friends and family in the area.
In the following weeks and months
For most of us, especially if we have never experienced problems with anxiety or low mood before, these psychological effects will gradually disappear over time and with support from the local community.
A period of ‘watchful waiting’ is advised, which means just keeping an eye on yourself and others and checking out how things are going, before assuming that any reactions won’t go away on their own with time.
Research and local experience tell us a small number of people go on to experience problems that require additional help, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic worry.
What to do and where to get help if you’re concerned about your own or someone else’s mental well-being
There are things that can help you your family, and our community to recover:
You know yourself and the people you love best, so you are best placed to decide what works for you.
How to access local health services
If you feel that your reactions to the floods have got stuck or that you’re feeling more low or anxious than you might expect, help is available.
Contact your GP or Cumbria health On Call out-of-hours on 111 (free to call)
Call First Step on 0300 123 9122 ((local rate phone call) Mon - Fri 8.30am 5.30pm
First Step receives over 12,000 referrals a year. Most people will have friends or family that have accessed First Step in the past. If you are struggling with low mood or some form of anxiety, seeking help is sensible and is not a sign of weakness.
What to do and where to get help if you’re concerned about suicide
For those of us already experiencing life difficulties or problems before the floods, the additional stress can be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’.
Some of us may feel as though there’s no way out, especially if we’ve previously experienced depression and have felt suicidal in the past. This can trigger suicidal thoughts.
Talking openly, honestly and with respect, and listening without making judgements, can make all the difference.
Ask it won’t harm. Listen it might help. Talking about suicide with someone does not increase the risk of suicidal behaviour.
If you are concerned about someone and they are in immediate danger and at high risk of suicide - call 999
Other places to get support and help
Samaritans – talk to a trained volunteer about whatever's getting to you. You don’t have to be suicidal.
Call 116 123 (24 hours a day) www.samaritans.org
ChildLine – helpline for children and young people up to 19 years, no problem is too big or too small
Call 0800 1111 (24 hours a day) www.childline.org
Silver Line - helpline for older people offering information, friendship and advice
Call 0800 470 8090 (24 hours a day) www.thesilverline.org.uk
Papyrus - offering support and advice to young people with thoughts of young suicide
Call their HOPELine 0800 068 41 41 www.papyrus-uk.org
National Mind Infoline
Call 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 www.mind.org.uk
CRUSE Bereavement Care – offers support after the death of someone close
Call 0844 477 9400
Disaster Action - website provides resources and information for the bereaved and survivors of major disasters
Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide
John 07896 703757
Paul 07572 975721
Victim Support - helping people cope with the effects of crime