Dr Zena Burgess, psychologist, and CEO of the Australian Psychological Society has urged Australians who experienced this morning’s earthquake, particularly those in Melbourne where it was most strongly felt, to look after their mental health.
From Zena Burgess, CEO of the APS:
“Disasters or significant events like an earthquake can be incredibly distressing for many people.”
“There is no right or wrong way to feel, and it’s important to acknowledge you’ve been through a difficult experience.”
“For those in Melbourne, and across Victoria, it’s particularly important to look after yourself right now. As a community you have been living through difficult and often stressful circumstances for a while now, so it’s understandable that this morning’s events may have brought on strong feelings for you.”
“Lean on each other, rest, take time to relax, and if you’re highly distressed or struggling, please reach out for help.”
Tips from a psychologist to look after your mental health:
- Recognise that you have been through a distressing experience and give yourself permission to experience some reaction to it. Don’t be angry with yourself for being upset
- Ask for support from people who care about you and whom you trust.
- Spend time with people who are predictable, familiar and respectful
- Try not to block out thoughts of what has happened. Gradually thinking about and working through what has happened can assist in coming to terms with a traumatic experience
- Don’t ‘bottle up’ your feelings – share your experiences with people you trust when opportunities arise. But don’t feel pressured if you don’t want to talk now – this is also OK
- Try to maintain a normal routine. Structure your day and try to have a balance between being busy and productive and allowing time to reflect and process your feelings and thoughts
- Allow yourself time to rest if you are feeling tired
- Give yourself time to adjust. Resilience is the norm, but it can take a while to bounce back.