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Mental health experts help flood victims

By Jesse Dorsett and Eric Tlozek, Wednesday February 6, 2013 - 13:33 EDT

A mental health expert says community members affected by natural disasters need each other's help to stay healthy.

Queensland Health has deployed more than 20 psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses and social workers to Bundaberg and the Lockyer Valley to monitor residents' wellbeing.

However, incident commander associate professor David Crompton says locals should also look out for each other, watching for anybody who is withdrawing into themselves.

"You also might be mindful of the person who seems to be spending 10, 12 hours a day trying to fix everything up because that's placing them at some risk.

"The other aspect that I believe people should watch out for, if they notice that people are maybe starting to drink a bit more alcohol than usual."

Associate Professor Crompton says it is important people are seen to as soon as possible.

"There are some processes which are called psychological first aid which actually give people information about how to cope," he said.

"In a number of cases this can prevent people going on to develop more complex problems like depression, severe anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder."

School pressure

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek says he is worried about the mental health of teachers and students from flooded schools.

He has met school staff in Bundaberg today.

Five schools were forced to delay the start of the school year after losing equipment and buildings.

Mr Langbroek says it is important to help staff and students get back to normal.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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