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Disillusionment And Stress in Canterbury

Disillusionment And Stress in Canterbury

All Right? media release

19 March 2014

The CERA Wellbeing Survey highlights the stresses caused by living in a post-disaster environment.

All Right? manager Sue Turner says many people in Canterbury are struggling with their mental health as a result of the earthquakes and the stressors inherent in our recovery.

“Canterbury has changed a lot. While we have a lot to look forward to, we are some way from having all of our homes repaired, our city centre rebuilt and other issues resolved,” Sue says.

“Stressors like roadworks, insurance issues, and battling to find accommodation are causing real stress in our community.”

Sue says while many issues seem out of our control, there are things we can do to give ourselves a boost.

“Separate overseas studies also show there are five ways people can increase their wellbeing – give, be active, take notice, learn, and connect,” she says.

“This may seem trivial given the massive issues people are facing but the research shows that no matter what you are going through, and even if things are out of your control, practising these five things can increase your wellbeing. It’s all about controlling what you can control to make the best of very tough situations.”

Sue says it comes as no surprise that CERA’s survey findings show secondary stressors are having a large impact on Cantabrians.

“A few months after the February earthquake the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Professor Sir Peter Gluckman stated that the emotional effects of disaster can be as severe as the physical effects.”

Sue says according to Professor Gluckman the ‘heroic’ and ‘honeymoon’ phases immediately following a disaster, there’s a long ‘disillusionment’ phase where people realise how long recovery will take and become angry and frustrated.

“While we are all in different places, it’s safe to say that as a region we’re still in this ‘disillusionment’ phase. What’s more, because we’ve had so many earthquakes we’ve all gone in and out of the different phases which has made things even more difficult,” Sue says.

"That’s why it’s so important that we all think about our own wellbeing and the little things we can do to make ourselves and others feel better.”

The CERA survey shows there has been a drop in people’s sense of community with others in their neighbourhood since the quakes.

“People often tell us a positive to come out of the earthquakes was they got to know and help their neighbours. Three years on this is something that people are missing. Catching up with your neighbour is a simple thing you can not only improve your wellbeing, but it can improve your neighbours’ too.

Sue says next weekend’s “Knowing your neighbour is a Piece of Cake’ project is a great opportunity for Cantabrians to reconnect with each other.

For more information go to: www.facebook.com/theneighbourhoodproject

© Scoop Media

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