The Australian Psychological Society is deeply saddened by the destructive earthquake that has occurred in Turkey and Syria. The APS, including our 28,000 members around Australia are deeply concerned about the immediate and long-term trauma and psychological impacts on people of all ages, families and communities.
This disaster has hit at a time when many people in Turkey and Syria are already struggling with a severe humanitarian crisis, potentially having been displaced due to war in the wider region, whilst also facing an unprecedented cost of living crisis. With thousands left injured or homeless, freezing winter temperatures have also exacerbated the situation.
People exposed to such harrowing conditions can suffer severe psychological and social consequences.
We understand that this is distressing for many in our Australian communities, in particular people who have strong family or personal ties to Turkey and Syria and the surrounding areas. Our thoughts go out to these people and to our colleagues in the psychology community in the region.
Many people will find the news and images of the disaster extremely upsetting, and for some, old traumas will be reactivated. This crisis comes at a time when many people in Australia are already under psychological strain, and we urge anyone struggling to reach out for mental health support.
For anyone experiencing distress, or being impacted by current events, the APS suggests:
Reaching out to mental health support services – especially if you are at risk of being re-traumatised
Limit media exposure, particularly if it is increasing your distress
Talking about your thoughts and feelings with someone you trust – sharing our distress and talking about how we feel with friends, family and trusted community members can be helpful
For anyone feeling a sense of powerlessness, taking positive action, like contributing to humanitarian aid efforts, may help
Lean on the tools you have for self-care. Allow time for rest, relaxation, exercise and social connection.
Further resources which may be helpful can be found below:
Strategies for coping with tragic events
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder