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Human Disasters

Societies overwhelmed by large-scale human disasters can cause grief and trauma. We share some insights and coping tips to support you.
Human Disasters

COVID-19 Coronavirus

It’s very natural to feel a range of emotions, including stress, worry, anxiety, boredom, frustration, anger, resentment, blame and low mood amongst other responses. Many people feel distressed by the constant news and an overwhelming amount of information about the situation.  They may also find themselves constantly drawn to media reports about what is occurring here in Australia and internationally.

Griefline offers several resources for coping with the grief and loss brought on by COVID-19.  You can contact the Griefline Helpline to speak with one of our trained and skilled volunteers who will listen and provide support for maintaining your well-being during this period.  Or reach out for support from others with a shared experience on our online forums for stressful and traumatic events.  You’ll also find a selection of self-care tools on our Mindfulness for Grief page on the Resource Hub including tips on journaling, mindful breathing and a specially selected meditation by Smiling Minds.

Acts of terror

There are some differences between the experience of terror and natural disasters. Natural disasters occur within a particular context, whereas the experience of terror can be associated with the possibility of another terror incident happening anywhere and at any time.  This can leave people feeling very unsafe in situations and places that they may not have previously associated with fear and vulnerability. The profound level of distress and complete unpredictability can result in the person wanting to avoid particular places or associations with the event.

Some responses to acts of terror:

  • Disbelief
  • Shock
  • Rage
  • Anger
  • Low mood/depression
  • Feelings of unfairness
  • Overwhelmed
  • Betrayal
  • Withdrawal
  • Anxiety
  • Avoidance
  • Hypervigilance

For support and understanding call Griefline to speak with one of our trained volunteers. We are ready to take your call 7days a week, 365 days of the year.  To connect with a caring and compassionate peer support group you can also tap into our online forums here.

How to cope if you’ve experienced a human disaster

Some people will find their own path through grief and loss. They may find their own ways of adjusting to the horror of what has occurred until the immediacy of the event begins to slowly dissipate and they are able to engage again with work, colleagues, friends and their own interests.

Others may find the comfort of friends and colleagues reassuring in providing empathy and understanding as well as supporting daily and practical concerns. One of the challenges is when friends or colleagues have also experienced the event.  They may be caught up with their own response to the loss, grief and trauma.

This is where Griefline can be helpful.  Our trained volunteers provide support to work with what has occurred.  They help you make sense of it through skilled and empathetic support and can provide coping skills to get you through. These services can be accessed immediately following a tragedy and can support the person in the early stages following these events.

If you continue to experience symptoms, a GP can provide a referral to a Counsellor, Psychologist, Mental health Social Worker or Psychiatrist for longer-term therapy.

If you are requiring support following a human-caused disaster, you can connect with a specially trained Griefline telephone support person on our national toll-free helpline or tap into the Griefline online forums for peer-to-peer support.

Related resources

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We offer nationwide telephone support to all people living in Australia aged 18+.

Call our helpline between the hours of 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week (AEST/AEDT), or request a callback at a time that suits you.

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