Disaster and emergency recovery

Support is available for people experiencing trauma, damage or loss due to disasters and emergencies.
  • Consider speaking to your General Practitioner (local doctor) and local council to find out what help and supports are available.
  • Find out if you are eligible for the Personal Hardship Assistance Program.
  • Call Lifeline on 13 11 14 if you are worried about your mental health or the mental health of a loved one.

Support after natural disasters and emergencies

Natural disasters such as fires, floods and storms can significantly impact your life and the lives of those around you.

There's no timeframe for recovery, but support and assistance are available to help you get back on track.

Speak to a GP and contact your local council to find out what is available for you.

To find your local:

Emergency Management Psychosocial Services Panel 

The Emergency Management Psychosocial Services Panel (the Panel) is available for emergency management practitioners, including local government and other government departments and agencies, to request psychosocial support services in all emergency phases.  

The Panel consists of specialists with experience in psychosocial support services. They have expertise across a wide range of specialisations, including:

  • Children and families impacted by disasters and complex trauma
  • Supporting school communities after critical incidents
  • Community preparedness and recovery
  • Trauma-informed training for emergency management staff.

The Panel offers a wide range of psychosocial services, both in person and online, such as:

  • facilitating community meetings after a major emergency 
  • Psychological First Aid training 
  • trauma-informed counselling and personal support
  • emotional and spiritual pastoral care. 

For more information about the Panel and/or to submit a request for psychosocial support services email PSSPanel@dffh.vic.gov.au 

Separate to the Panel, the Australian Red Cross and the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry provide outreach, psychological first aid, personal support and emotional spiritual care to build capability and resilience. For more information, visit the Australian Red Cross website or the Victorian Council of Churches Emergencies Ministry website.

The Australian Psychological Society also has resources to help you mentally prepare for emergencies. They emphasise the importance of including these steps in your emergency plans. For more information, visit the Australian Psychological Society website.

Support programs

If you have been impacted by the June 2021 storm event or the October 2022 floods, you should speak to your GP and local council to find out what help is available.

Alice, Wendy and Ernie accessed support after natural disasters. Reaching out provided them with someone to regularly talk with and advocate on their behalf.

​Michelle helped Alice link up with services in her area. ​

Recovering after a storm Alices story video transcript (Word)

Melinda helped Ernie get things off his chest when he needed to.​

Recovering after a bushfire Ernies story video transcript (Word)

Sam advocated for Wendy when she had to deal with insurance and clean ups. ​

Recovering after a storm Wendys story video transcript (Word)

You may also be eligible for the Personal Hardship Assistance Program.

Understanding the impacts of emergencies

People may experience a range of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural reactions following an emergency. For more information, visit BetterHealth's Trauma recovery services.

Clinical psychologists Rob Gordon and David Younger discuss recovery after emergencies and natural disasters. ​

Rob Gordon and David Younger - Road to Recovery video transcript (Word)

State emergency management plan

We coordinate psychosocial support under the State Emergency Management Plan (SEMP). 

The SEMP is available at Emergency Management Victoria.