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Flood Impacted Student Support Package

The University of Southern Queensland has developed the Flood Impacted Student Support Package to support our students who have been directly impacted by the recent flood events and who because of these events, may be concerned about continuing with their studies this semester.  The package is available to eligible domestic and international students and aims to support students to remain enrolled and complete their studies in Semester 1, 2022.

The following services are available as part of this Package:

(a) Flood Relief Welfare Support will be provided on a case-by-case basis to assist students who have been impacted by the flooding event with support to source accommodation, textbooks, clothing and personal items lost as a result of the flooding event. You are encouraged to book an appointment online to discuss further support needs, or by emailing  or phoning 4631 2372 and a staff member will contact you as soon as possible.

(b) Flood Relief Drop-in online counselling appointments to provide mental health support to flood-impacted students, including support for learning or personal support to manage learning through the flooding event and aftermath. You can make a booking online – please note, you may be required to complete a Client Details Form if you haven’t completed this previously.

(c) Academic concessions: Assessment extensions are available for students impacted by flooding. We understand that you may not be able to provide evidence of your current situation. If you are unable to submit a request online please contact us by phone, email or chat.

Eligibility and further information

Students who have been impacted by recent flood events are encouraged to book an appointment to discuss further support needs, such as accommodation, textbooks, clothing and personal items. Assessment of need and provision of support will be provided on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility criteria:

  • You reside in a flood impacted postcode area and are enrolled to study in Semester 1, 2022.
  • Your previous access to textbooks, learning resources and/or accommodation is no longer available.

Problem solving

At first, it’s important to seek the practical support you need to address the immediate priorities for daily living.

Coping can be increased by having a plan to address the situation. If you are having difficulty knowing where to begin, imagine you are helping a friend who is going through what you are experiencing – what would you identify with them that might need doing?

  1. Identify the problem:
    • What needs to be done?
    • Is it currently within your capacity? – if not, put it aside for now.
    • Are you feeling overloaded? – give yourself permission to tackle one thing at a time.

  2. Assess the problem:
    • Break down what needs to be done into smaller tasks and prioritise, e.g. whole property is damaged – break down into yard/shed/house; prioritise house – remove all unsalvageable items and clean room by room, identify what needs to be replaced Make a list as you go as it can be difficult to remember when feeling overwhelmed.

  3. Brainstorm solutions:
    • Be creative about how to reach your goals with as many ideas as possible, e.g., apply for government disaster relief payment, hire a cleaner, organise a working bee.

  4. Adopt a solution:
    • Sift through the ideas above and settle on options you will go with, whatever best meets your needs and in order of priority and ease of achievement.

Thinking differently

Recognise you’ve been through a natural disaster. It’s okay to be feeling whatever it is you’re feeling.

Whatever you are feeling in response to the situation is normal. But it’s important to recognise that thinking can affect your emotions. Identify your thinking – try switching from unhelpful to helpful.

Unhelpful Helpful 
 ‘Things will never be right again’ ‘I’ve coped with a lot already and discovered strengths I didn’t realise I had’
 ‘Everything is ruined – I’ll never get things sorted out’ ‘This is hard work and will take a while, but I’ve started – just keep chipping away’


Don't forget to connect

Ask for support. Let people know your needs – friends and family, community services.

When we experience a traumatic event, it is important to connect with those who care about us. Our social connections can get disrupted at this time, though, and we may feel like we are too busy. However, if we connect with those who make us feel a sense of belonging and supported, it can go a long way towards our ability to cope. Not to mention, we may also receive practical support from our social connections, such as caring for children while a clean-up is happening. At USQ, the Wellness Team is a good place to start.

Do something you enjoy

It can take time to adjust to what has happened. Go easy on yourself.

After weeks or months of work to re-establish your life, you may be exhausted and stressed, and it may be there is still more to do. You may not be engaging in what used to be pleasurable activities. This may be because the floods have destroyed certain items, facilities or venues, you may feel grief and shock still that make it hard to imagine enjoying anything, or you may feel guilt for not spending all your time on the recovery task.

However, you can regain a sense of control, balance and meaning in life by engaging in enjoyable activities. Consider including ‘fun’ activities into the recovery plan. Even better if you can include your social connections as part of these. The key is to start establishing a sense of routine again that includes things to look forward to and that give you a break from rebuilding. In the end, this may well help you make faster progress because your wellbeing is looked after.

Managing emotional distress

Long after experiencing a disaster there may be distress. It can be triggered by memories or just dealing with day-to-day stress. Symptoms can be physical, such as rapid heartbeat, or an emotional reaction of feeling teary or short temper. This is normal and there are ways to manage it:

  1. Identify the location of the distress in your body
  2. Name the emotion – I am feeling sad/angry/anxious
  3. Understand and anticipate triggers – e.g., rainy weather, kids arguing – you can plan to manage better if you know what is likely to trigger you
  4. Managing the distress – there are techniques you can learn, such as relaxing the parts of the body that tense up, breathing exercises, calm self-talk, and linking in with supportive friend.

‘Recovering from floods’ APS Australian Psychological Society

There are a range of external supports available for you to access as needed.

Emergency hardship assistance

The Emergency Hardship Assistance Grant is available as a contribution to support people directly impacted by a disaster to who are unable to meet their immediate essential needs for food, clothing, medical supplies or temporary accommodation. If deemed eligible, applicants may receive $180 per person up to $900 for a family of 5 or more. The grant is initially available to claim for 7 days following the activation of the grant in your area. Emergency Hardship Assistance is not income or asset tested.

For more information about eligibility criteria or to apply, visit the Community Recovery website or call 1800 173 349.

Disaster recovery payments

The federal government has activated the Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) of $1000 per eligible adult and $400 per eligible child to those in affected local government areas who have suffered a significant loss, including a severely damaged or destroyed home, or serious injury.

The Disaster Recovery Payment is not income or asset tested. The Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA) will also be available to residents of some affected local government areas, providing up to 13 weeks payment to cover loss of income as a direct result of the disaster. For more information about Commonwealth support, please visit the Services Australia website or call 180 22 66.

Other support available:

Email
usqwellness@usq.edu.au

Phone
+61 7 4631 2372

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