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Health and wellbeing

Disasters can affect both your physical and mental health.

Physical health

Even if you have escaped immediate danger, your health or life can still be at risk in the mid - to long-term from secondary hazards. Secondary hazards from a disaster might include contaminated floodwater and drinking water, food spoilage, mould growth and venomous or disease-spreading animals. These hazards can lead to skin infections, food poisoning, asthma and vector borne diseases such as dengue fever and malaria.

Where to get help

For immediate medical assistance in an emergency always call Triple Zero (000) and ask for the ambulance.

Speak to your doctor about any issues or concerns that you have as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to help and can make referrals to specialist services.

For information on health issues and support services visit:

Mental health

Most people will suffer stress and grief after living through a traumatic event such as a bushfire. Often the emotional impacts are relatively mild and reduce over the initial days and weeks with the support of family and friends and others in the community. However, some people may need additional support to help them cope.

If you feel a person's safety is at immediate risk, call Triple Zero (000).

For mental health emergencies, phone the 24/7 Mental Health Triage Service 13 14 65.

See SA Health's Mental health recovery information after a disaster for information on:

  • what to look out for
  • ways of looking after yourself and others
  • what support services are available.

Related information

On this site

Crisis helplines

    Other websites

    Community Trauma Toolkit for parents to help children cope with disasters - Emerging Minds

    Lifeline's recovering after a natural disaster

    Red Cross - looking after yourself and your family

    Other languages

    SA Health has information on emotional recovery in some languages other than English. Visit the Department of Human Services website to view these translations.

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    Page last updated 11 January 2020

    Provided by:
    Department of Human Services
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