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HealthInfo Canterbury

Earthquake stress

For many people, the disruption caused by the earthquakes of 2010-11 is continuing. The stress has changed and is now related to insurance, EQC, housing, business and schooling concerns. The way people respond to and cope with these issues is similar to how they dealt with the earthquakes.

February 2016 update

The All Right? campaign has released new research about the mental health of people in Canterbury. It recently carried out a survey and conducted focus groups.

The research shows that people are generally feeling better than when the survey was first carried out in 2012. But unsettled insurance claims are still affecting how people feel. People are also still grieving for what they have lost.

Overseas research shows that it can take up to a decade for a region's mental health to recover after a natural disaster. In Canterbury, we have had many natural disasters over a long period. There have also been a lot of other factors causing stress. That means the recovery might take even longer here.

Common responses to stress

FDP young woman at homeWhen you are stressed, it's normal to have the following thoughts and experiences:

Coping mechanisms

It is really important to give yourself time to work through the stress you are feeling. There are many different ways of coping. These may include:

There is no set way of doing this. Whatever feels right for you will work best.

Children's reactions

FDP couple and daughterMany people are worried about how the continuing problems are affecting their children. It is important to remember that children generally are resilient.

However, younger children may be more clingy, have bad dreams, lose their appetite, or complain of physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach aches.

To support children:

Further help

If you feel that things are not settling, you should contact your GP for advice on how to get appropriate help, or phone the Canterbury Earthquake Support Line on 0800‑777‑846.

The Canterbury Resilience Hub is a single point of entry for local health and wellbeing services. It's designed to help people find the right support during tough times.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed March 2016. Last updated July 2019


See also:

Mental wellbeing

Photos courtesy of marin and imagerymajestic at

Page reference: 28750

Review key: HISTS-111503