Grief, trauma and critical incidents

Grief describes how a person feels after the loss of someone or something that is very important to them.

The grief experienced from a loss affects the whole person, including their mind, spirit, and body, as well as the relationships they have with other people. Trauma occurs when someone has had a distressing or overwhelming experience, with intense pain, stress, fear, or helplessness.

Major adverse natural events, such as an earthquakes, bushfires or floods can have wide-reaching impacts on mental health and wellbeing. 

Natural disasters can have a significant impact on both individuals and communities, as these events – and circumstances which may follow – are often traumatic. Children and young people are especially vulnerable to the emotional impacts and often rely on adults around them to provide support, information and protection.


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We all grieve. For children and young people, understanding and expressing their grief can be particularly hard.


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Trauma is the result of an event(s) that cause a child or young person to feel pushed beyond their ability to cope.

How trauma affects children and young people

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Sometimes the effects of trauma are immediate and more obvious, but on other occasions the impact may take some time to appear.

Supporting children and young people who have experienced trauma

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You can support children and young people in their recovery from a traumatic event.

Impact of natural disasters on mental health

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Natural disasters can be stressful and traumatic for everyone, with impacts on mental health and wellbeing.

Supporting children and young people affected by grief

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Children and young people can need lots of reassurance and support to help them come to terms with a major loss.

How to provide support after a natural disaster

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Learning communities and educators play an important role in supporting children and young people after a natural disaster.

Educator wellbeing after a natural disaster

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Looking after yourself in the event of a natural disaster is the first step to providing support to those around you.