Relief & Recovery

Personal well-being following an emergency

Personal well-being

It is normal for a distressing or frightening event to affect you physically, mentally and emotionally. If you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms you should seek help. 

  • are unable to handle the intense feelings or physical sensations
  • don't have normal feelings, but continue to feel numb and empty
  • feel that you are not beginning to return to normal after three or four weeks
  • continue to have physical stress symptoms
  • continue to have disturbed sleep or nightmares
  • deliberately try to avoid anything that reminds you of the traumatic experience
  • have no one you can share your feelings with
  • find that relationships with family and friends are suffering
  • are becoming accident-prone and using more alcohol or drugs
  • cannot return to work or manage responsibilities
  • keep reliving the traumatic experience
  • feel very much on edge and can be easily startled.

More information about trauma, reactions, and recovery is available on the Better Health Channel.

Where to get help

There are a number support services available to assist you and your family recover from the strong emotional or physical reactions you may be experiencing.

If at any time you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one, call Lifeline on 13 11 14

You can also contact:

  • Your doctor, local community health centre
  • A Counsellor or Psychologist
  • Parentline Tel. 13 22 89 or the Kids Helpline Tel. 1800 55 1800
  • NURSE-ON-CALL Tel. 1300 60 60 24 - for expert health information and advice (24 hours, 7 days)
  • Australian Psychological Society Referral Service Tel. 1800 333 497
  • Accredited Social Workers – to find a social worker – Tel 1800 630 124 (Mon to Fri, 8am to 5pm)

Family violence

Emergencies put a lot of additional stress on close relationships and families as they struggle to deal with the stress. If you, or someone you know, need help there are services you can call, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

  • The Orange Door is the access point to services for adults, children and young people who are experiencing family violence. Visit
  • Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre provides confidential support for women and children living with family violence. Call 1800 015 188 or visit
  • The Men’s Referral Service is a confidential telephone service for men who might be using violence towards a family member or who have been victimised by a partner or family member. Call 1300 766 491 or visit

Call 000 if you, or someone you know, is in immediate danger.

Translated information

Translated trauma and recovery information available here.

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