Drought, wind and dust storms, bushfires and now flooding - any one of these events can have a negative impact on our day-to-day lives. Most importantly, we need to recognise the longer-term effect it is having on our young people and their mental health.
The extreme climate events we have been experiencing this past year can start taking a toll on our physical and emotional wellbeing. Prolonged weather events have been associated with elevated levels of anxiety, depression and the possible development of post-traumatic stress reactions.
Many young people are concerned about their future and are raising concerns that they have no control about the future. Young people are reporting feeling frightened, angry, helpless, frustrated, pessimistic or guilty in response to the climate events around them.
Our young people can easily pick up on our stressors and begin to feel anxious and nervous, or be overwhelmed or grief-stricken. It's important to look after yourself and seek support, and this can bring reassurance to your young people that it's okay to get help.
All too often we hear people say - get over it, move on, she'll be right...these responses are not helpful. Reassurance and taking time to listen to our young people is one way we can begin to help them. Getting them back into good routines with sleeping, eating, and connecting with others are good first steps.
If you recognise that you or a young person are not coping well, and you have tried putting in place some simple strategies to help, there are several organisations that you can contact for further support.
These organisations can be contacted on the number below or through their websites.
- ParentLine on 1300 1300 52
- Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
- Lifeline on 13 11 14
- Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
- Headspace on 1800 650 890
- ReachOut at au.reachout.com
- Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511