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Psychiatrists warn of flood trauma

Governments urged to provide increased and targeted mental health services to affected people.

People affected by the floods devastating Queensland are being urged to look after their mental health.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is warning that the effects of the floods can last a long time.

"The people of Queensland will be suffering significant grief, shock and loss as a result of the floods," college president Maria Tomasic said in a statement.

"Following the initial shock and once the floods subside, people may experience long-term psychological problems such as depression and anxiety disorders."

It was important that people monitored their mental health during the flood crisis, but also afterwards in the months of recovery.

Tomasic is urging governments to provide increased and targeted mental health services to affected people.

"It is important that skilled assistance is available to people over the complex period in the aftermath and recovery," she said.

The college is also warning of the dangers traumatising survivors.

"Caution is required in the immediate response to avoid revisiting the traumatic events through debriefing as this may compound trauma," the college's Queensland branch chairman Daniel Varghese said.

"Those who feel anxious or depressed are encouraged to talk to someone about their thoughts," he said.

"If people are feeling distress they should seek help from mental health professionals, a telephone counselling service or visit their general practitioner."


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