The Effects of Flooding on Mental Health: Outcomes and Recommendations from a Review of Literature

Authors: Carla Stanke; Virginia Murray; Richard Amlot; Dr. Jo Nurse; Professor Richard Williams
Published in: PLOS Currents Disasters, May 30, 2012

The review indicates that flooding affects people of all ages, can exacerbate or provoke mental health problems, and highlights the importance of secondary stressors in prolonging the psychosocial impacts of flooding. The distressing experiences that the majority of people experience transiently or for longer periods after disasters can be difficult to distinguish from symptoms of common mental disorders. This emphasises the need to reduce the impact of primary and secondary stressors on people affected by flooding and the importance of narrative approaches to differentiate distress from mental disorder. Much of the literature focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder; diagnosable depressive and anxiety disorders and substance misuse are under-represented in the published data. Most people’s psychosocial needs are met through their close relationships with their families, friends and communities; smaller proportions of people are likely to require.

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