Time hasn't healed all wounds following flood of 2008
THE aftermath of Mackay's massive flood in 2008 has left residents with increased levels of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety seven years on.
On February 15, 2008, more than 600mm of rain was dumped on the town in 12 hours, affecting nearly 2000 properties.
A Queensland University of Technology study found delays in rebuilding and difficulties dealing with insurance companies had had a severe effect on the community - one still being felt today.
Mackay resident Kelly Dixon was living on the outskirts of the city at the time and saw the impact on people first-hand through her work at Lifeline.
Ms Dixon has looked at the factors that influence the mental health of survivors following flood disasters in Australia through her studies at the university.
"When the flood hit Mackay on February 15, 2008 it was a terrifying experience for many residents, but it was difficulties in the rebuilding process and dealing with insurance companies that increased PTSD, depression and anxiety," she said.
"The flood was a pretty frightening thing on the day. But about 75% of people in my study said the most difficult aspect was the aftermath, the clean-up, the rebuilding process and dealing with insurance companies. It was very exhausting for people."
Ms Dixon said trying to claim insurance had been one of the more stressful issues.
"What we found in Mackay was while there was some co-ordination of the rebuilding effort, many people faced long delays during the reconstruction phase," she said.
"Difficulties dealing with insurance companies, such as receiving conflicting messages and advice as to whether people were covered, or whether they needed to keep wet and rotting furniture inside the home, also had a negative influence on survivors' psychological outcomes."
The study also found social support was vital in the days, months and years following a disaster.