There's no right or wrong way to feel over the flood
THERE is no right or wrong when it comes to how a person will feel around the time of the one year anniversary of the Lismore Flood.
Lead clinical adviser at Beyondblue Dr Grant Blashki said people might feel a variety of different emotions, ranging from negative to positive thoughts.
"Some people will find reminders can trigger some of the feelings of hopelessness and being out of control that they had at the time of the flood,” Dr Blashki said.
"Yet others will feel a sense of solidarity because of the support they received and how the community banded together.”
Dr Blashki said it is important that during this time, everyone looks out for one another and supports those who are experiencing trauma.
"What's important is that people have a support network around them made up of family and friends who they can turn to if they are struggling,” he said.
"Reaching out to others at the time of an anniversary to support them can have a powerful effect.”
He said common sense and sensitivity are good guides for how best to support a person who is experiencing trauma.
"Try to get a sense of where they are at and what is most helpful for them. You can simply ask if they're okay, and that you're there to listen to them if they want to talk,” Dr Blashki said.
"Just listening to someone without judging them or having to solve their problems is very simple and can be very effective. Let them know you are there for them and empathise with how hard it was.”
"Be ready for them to express a range of different emotions. If people are irritable, angry or frightened, don't take it personally.”
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also the best self-care technique.
"Simple things such as eating well, getting enough sleep and including some exercise in the weekly routine can have a positive effect on a person's mental health,” Dr Blashki said.
If people are experiencing ongoing post traumatic symptoms, it is a good idea to suggest they seek professional help by seeing a GP or a mental health professional.
Mental health professionals are available at the beyondblue Support Service via phone 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or via http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3PM - 12AM AEST).