The Environment Agency has launched a campaign encouraging individuals to be prepared for flooding, highlighting the risk that flood damage can have on mental health.
Research by the Environment Agency has revealed that experiencing damage caused by extreme weather, such as storms or flooding can increase the chance of facing depression by 50%.
Flooding can have serious financial repercussions in terms of fixing damage to the house and replacing lost items, and it also places extreme stress on individuals who may have to move out of their home.
Low-income households are eight times more likely to live in floodplains, and 61% of low-income renters do not have home contents insurance.
Data from the insurance company Aviva has revealed that 73% of low-income renters would be unable to meet an unexpected bill of £500 without help.
According to the agency, by taking action and being prepared, individuals can reduce the damage caused by flooding by up to 40%, which as a result can reduce the mental health implications.
Caroline Douglass, director of incident management & resilience at the Environment Agency, said: ‘Anyone who has experienced a flood will know just how extensive the impact can be on their lives.
‘It’s not just the financial stress, it’s the loss of irreplaceable sentimental belongings and the strain it can have on those affected.
‘We are already seeing more frequent and intense flooding as a result of climate change, so we would urge everyone to know the simple steps to take – such as moving possessions upstairs and preparing a grab bag with medicines and important documents – to help reduce the damage and keep yourself and your family safe.’
Flood resilience campaigner Mary Dhonau said: ‘I campaign to raise awareness of flooding because I know, first-hand and through thousands of people’s stories that I’ve heard through my work, what the true impact of a flood can be.
‘Check whether you are at risk, sign up for flood alerts and make the necessary preparations.
‘You will need all the mental strength you have if the worst should happen.’
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