‘We don’t sleep when it’s raining’: the mental health impact of flooding
Research show flood victims in UK nine times more likely to experience long-term mental health issues
When Julie Blackburn was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2016 she was told to avoid her triggers, scenarios which cause upsetting flashbacks. “But when your trigger is rain, there is no getting over it,” she said. “My husband and I don’t sleep when it’s raining, we take it in turns to stand at the window watching the rain – it’s just living in constant fear.”
Blackburn’s house in Old Coulsdon, Croydon, has been flooded several times, first in 2000 when heavy rain overwhelmed the Victorian sewer system and filled her home with toxic waste. Rapid development and poor infrastructure led the south London borough to be rated the fourth worst area in England and Wales for surface water flooding in 2011.