As Townsville reflects on the 2019 monsoon event, NAPHL Health Hub mental health clinicians are encouraging locals to be mindful of their mental health and emotional wellbeing.

NAPHL Senior Director of Mental Health Phil Ihme (pictured) said recent wet weather in Townsville and surrounds could bring up difficult feelings after last year’s floods. 

“The unprecedented floods were a significant and traumatic event for many people across Townsville and the broader North Queensland region,” he said.

“And, it is only natural that the recent heavy rain would trigger some feelings and memories from last year’s disaster – this can include worrying, feeling stressed, apprehensive or anxious.”

The 2019 monsoonal event was the largest rainfall event to occur in the Townsville catchment in more than 100 years.  

Flash flooding began in late January 2019 before mass evacuations occurred ahead of the Ross River Dam spillway gates opening on February 3.

The monsoon event resulted in damage to more than 3000 properties according to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

Mr Ihme said it was normal to feel intense emotions surrounding a natural disaster, even a long time after the event.

“When you’ve been through a disaster such as the monsoon event, you can be at a higher risk of developing a mental health condition like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder,” he said.

“This makes sense considering all of the turmoil, loss and trauma that the region was subjected to during this unprecedented event.

“If you find you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, worried, upset, angry or just not like your normal self,  you could start by speaking to someone close to you, like a family member, friend, or health professional. A good place to start seeking professional help is your GP.”