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Coping after a crisis

What you or others might experience after a crisis, and how to manage it.

Emergencies and crises by their very nature are disruptive and can be stressful. The recovery process can take time, sometimes months or even years.

What you, your family or friends have experienced is a unique and personal event. Some crises happen suddenly, with very little or no warning. Others develop more slowly and accumulate over time.

It’s normal to have a range of feelings in reaction to an abnormal situation. With time, some simple steps, and the support of people close to them, most people will cope well with the stress of a crisis.

Common physical and emotional reactions following an emergency or crisis change and evolve over time.

For each of the stages you’ll find information on some of the common reactions to crises. There are also tips on how to look after yourself and your loved ones. There are many different forms of support available to you. You’ll find many listed here

Coping and returning home after a crisis

Information on what you might be feeling and how to look after yourself, as well as practical tips on returning home and navigating repairs and rebuilding.

Maintaining wellbeing in the face of long-term stress

Information on coping with long-term stress in times of uncertainty.

Bushfire recovery events and webinars

Connect with communities and experts who can support you. Register for upcoming Red Cross events and connect in with communities and experts who can support you

Staying healthy

Supporting others to cope with crisis

Crisis may be more intense for people who have suffered heavily or been directly involved. Others may find it more difficult to adjust, and will require more support from their community. This could include people in the community who:

  • have been evacuated or separated from family and friends, or quarantined
  • are more physically isolated 
  • are newly arrived to an area, including recent migrants or people with a refugee background 
  • are unwell, either prior to or as a result of the event
  • have a physical or intellectual disability and are living in the community with support 
  • have suffered or will suffer significant financial losses 
  • have been injured or have witnessed a traumatic event 
  • have previously experienced trauma
  • are experiencing family violence

There are a range of resources available to help you support others through a difficult time.

Resources for parents and carers

Supporting children and young people after a crisis

Resources for teachers and schools

Information for school communities as they support their students, including lesson plans

Resources for agencies

Information for agencies looking to support their local community following a crisis

Resources for communities

Information for local communities impacted by crises

Coping with a major personal crisis  

Who is this for - People needing information, support or advice following a crisis   
Brief overview - This booklet contains information about some of the reactions and suggests ways to cope after an emergency.   

Helping children and young people cope with crisis

Who is this for - Parents and carers of children and young people  
Brief overview - This booklet is designed to help parents understand why and how children might react to challenging and overwhelming experiences and help parents respond to the needs of their children.   

Parenting: coping with crisis

Who is this for - Parents and carers of children and young people
Brief overview - This booklet provides reflections on and suggestions for parenting during or after a disaster or crisis.

Wellbeing toolkit

Who is this for - People who are experiencing stress
Brief overview - This booklet contains tips and strategies for stress management and self care

After the emergency

Who is this for - Children aged 5 – 8 years
Brief overview - This book enables children to think about what has happened and be aware of the feelings they may have after an emergency. You can use this book as a tool to discuss with children how they may be feeling.

After the emergency

Who is this for - Young adults
Brief overview - A podcast developed in collaboration with Triple J and Smiling Mind. It features music and advice to help people who have experienced trauma 

Cleaning up after an emergency: wind and water damage

Who is this for - People whose homes have been damaged in a storm, severe weather event or flood  
Brief overview - A major dilemma many households face with wind and water damage, is how and where to begin the cleanup. This booklet contains some useful tips and practical information to help households start the clean up—both inside and outside.

Returning home after a bushfire

Who is this for - People whose homes have been damaged or destroyed in bushfires
Brief overview - This factsheet contains some useful tips and practical information to help household start the clean up after a fire.

Looking after yourself and your family after an emergency

Who is this for - Adults who want to better understand the impact of an emergency
Brief overview - This booklet is for adults and is designed to help you understand the reactions you – or someone you know – may be experiencing. It contains practical advice, numbers to call and websites to visit if you need extra information or support.

Talking with children after an emergency

Who is this for - Parents and carers of young children
Brief overview - Tips on how to pseak to children about emergencies, even if you weren’t directly impacted

Promoting recovery after trauma

Who is this for - People working with or supporting children or young people
Brief overview - Information and guidelines on post-traumatic stress

Resources for children and young people; parents and caregivers

Who is this for - Parents and carers of young children
Brief overview - This is a guide to some of the informed resources that are currently available.

Australian Psychological Society

Who is this for - Everyone
Brief overview - Information and resources on stress.

Phoenix Australia

Who is this for - People wanting information and support on trauma and post-traumatic stress.
Brief overview - Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health promotes recovery for the 15 million Australians affected by trauma.

Beyond Blue

Who is this for - People wanting information and support for anxiety, stress and depression
Brief overview - Tips and resources to help you look after your mental health, or support your loved ones.


Who is this for - People aged 12-25, or those caring for them
Brief overview - Resources, information and support for people aged 12-25 and those caring for them.


Who is this for - People in need of crisis support, for them or their loved ones.
Brief overview - A 24-hour crisis support life to support people and prevent suicide.

Smiling Mind

Who is this for - Everyone
Brief overview - A free mobile phone application of guided mindfulness mediations with special programs for children, young people, families, and adults.