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The Environment Agency launched a campaign to highlight the impact of flood damage on mental health

Posted: 29/01/20

During their Flood Action Week (20th January – 26th January 2020) the Environment Agency launched a campaign to highlight the impact flood damage has on mental health, advising people on the importance of signing up to flood alerts.

Experiencing damage caused by extreme weather such as storms or flooding can increase the chance of facing mental health problems such as stress and depression by 50% while a quarter of people who have been flooded still live with these issues at least two years after the event.

This is according to research highlighted by the Environment Agency in their Flood Action Week, which urged people to be better prepared for the potentially devastating impacts of flooding.

Flooding can have a negative impact on mental health for several reasons – from the financial repercussions of fixing extensive damage to the loss of sentimental items and the stress it places on victims’ relationships. It often results in people having to move out of their homes, displacing them from their community for many months.

But taking action to prepare for a flood can reduce damages by around 40% as well as reducing the likelihood of suffering from mental health impacts in the future, which is why the Environment Agency is calling on those at risk to familiarise themselves with its ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ guidance – a simple set of instructions to help keep people and their possessions safe in a flood. The guidance includes simple but effective advice such as preparing a bag with medication and important documents and moving valuable and sentimental items upstairs or to higher ground.

Worryingly, low income households are eight times more likely to live in tidal floodplains than more affluent households, but 61% of low-income renters do not have home contents insurance, meaning they’re more susceptible to a financial shock as a result. According to data from insurance company Aviva, most low-income renters would struggle to meet typical insurable losses with nearly three quarters (73%) unable to meet an unexpected bill of £500 without help. In addition to meeting the financial costs, flooding can cause heart-breaking sentimental loss with the likes of photographs, keepsakes and ornaments among some of the most common non-replaceable items to suffer from water damage.

To support the campaign, the Environment Agency created a short film showing the devastating impacts that flooding has on a home and family. The film, narrated from a child’s perspective shows a dolls house with mouldy walls and carpets, ruined family photographs and toys, simulating the real damage that flooding causes, it hopes to encourage people to think about taking action to prepare for flooding.

Click this link to view the short film.


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