Wellbeing during times of crisis

During a natural disaster, such as the significant rainfall and flooding currently being experienced across the Goulburn Valley, it is important not to forget the people involved in the crisis.

An elderly man walks across a barley field with dairy cows. He is joined by two young boys. The text across reads. 'Wellbeing'. Below the picture is a blue banner, the text across it reads, 'Looking after yourself and others during a crisis'.

When experiencing flood events, it is normal to be focused on keeping your livestock and infrastructure safe. However, it is just as important to remember the people involved in the crisis and ensure you, and the people around you, are supported and looked after. 


As the farm owner or manager, your leadership is crucial to successfully getting through a crisis. Make sure that you are around to provide the support and direction that your workers need by firstly looking after yourself. The airline advice to place the oxygen mask on yourself before offering assistance to others is a good example.

Things you can do to look after yourself
1. Establish a support network. This can include workers, friends, family and professionals. 
2. Share the responsibility of decision making. You can still provide leadership without taking on the burden of making every decision.
3. Get enough rest. This will be different from how you would rest under normal circumstances, however factor in enough downtime to replenish your energy. 
4. Bring in additional labour where you can. Due to workforce shortages, Murray Dairy acknowledges this is not always an option. However, try not to do everything yourself. 


During a crisis your staff will be anxious and often fearful. They will be worried about how the outcome of the flood will impact your business and their future employment. Your staff or their families are also likely to be impacted directly by floodwaters threatening their homes. They will also be worried about the safety of their family and friends.

Things you can do to support your staff

  1. Communication
    1. Keep employees involved or informed in your decision making
    2. Update them when circumstances and decisions change
    3. Seek their feedback
  2. Consideration
    1. Listen to their concerns
    2. Ask the right questions (use open ended questions that get to the issue, don’t accept yes or no answers)
    3. Give them explicit permission to deal with their own problems
    4. Provide individual solutions, don’t have a universal approach for everyone.
  3. Seek alternative labour support
    1. Consider bringing in casual labour if available
    2. Take advantage of volunteers
    3. Reach out to other networks to provide support


Children hear and interpret more than most of us realise. They too are feeling the stress of the situation as much as the adults. They do not have the life experience of their parents and will imagine their own outcomes if things are not clearly explained.

Things you can do to support your children
1. Communicate the situation clearly in an age appropriate manner. This includes explaining what is happening and likely to happen, so they are not imagining their own scenarios.
2. Reassure them. 
3. Be conscious of conversations you are having with other adults while children are around.

Reaching out

There are a range of online, over the phone, and in-person organisations that offer support in many ways. Reach out to these organisations to help you both through the crisis and in the recovery stage once the flood water has receded. Murray Dairy has established a list of support organisations that you may consider using.

Support services contact

The Flood Recovery Hotline is a single state-wide phone number and is open from 7.30am to 7.30pm every day. 

To talk to a Recovery Support Worker about what support is available to you, call 1800 560 760.

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