Flooding is traumatic and it disrupts your life. Experience shows that after surviving a disaster people can have a variety of reactions.
It is easy to live life day to day, dealing with a variety of issues. It is very easy to overlook how you may be personally feeling – but we need to be aware of our physical and mental health.
Have you eaten properly and had a hot meal?
Are you getting enough sleep?
Have you got a cough, itchy eyes, or physical symptoms that you might be ignoring but could indicate a health issue? Often this occurs when people are having to live in a house that is still damp from being flooded and may have mould or mildew causing health problems.
Be mindful of how you are feeling and your mood. Are you feeling hopeless or helpless?
If you are having any of these feelings speak to your doctor, tell them about your symptoms but also tell them you have flooded so they have the full picture of what you are going through.
How to cope after a flood?
- You may feel like you can cope with just one thing at a time.
- You might find it hard to retain information and things that you are told.
- You could feel stressed and find everyday things that you can usually deal with become hard to cope with.
- You live from day-to-day and future planning feels impossible. You cannot plan. You need to get through the immediacy of what is going on. It is hard to plan a future.
- If you have children, it can be difficult to focus on day-to-day activities and their needs.
- The effect of this is that children can hear and see the stress that parents are under, and they may become quieter and withdrawn. But they are quietly listening in to the situation they are very aware and astute.
All of these reactions to being flooded are normal human responses
Public Health England published a study after the 2013-2014 floods in England, the wettest winter in 250 years, to help understand the scale, intensity, or duration of the impacts on health. Several storms caused flooding to over 11,000 properties between December 2013 and May 2014 (The English National Study for Flooding and Health: First Year report)
The UK Health Security Agency published guidance notes in July 2022 that provides a framework intended to address and raise awareness on the wide-ranging health impacts of flooding.
Flooding and health: assessment and management of public mental health