The long term effects of a natural disaster can range from coping with the loss of loved ones to dealing with emotional trauma such as depression and PTSD. Studies have shown an increase in stress, mental illness and increased suicide risk among individuals who have lived through a natural disaster.
Particularly for children, traumatic events such as a natural disaster that are experienced during childhood can have negative effects into the future, such as increased substance use, depression, heart disease and cancer.
Children who stayed in a temporary shelter rather than at home or with loved ones during a natural disaster have a higher instance of developing PTSD and should seek the help of a professional.
Withdrawal from friends and family is an early warning sign for children and individuals struggling with depression following a natural disaster. In adolescents, warning signs include troubled behavior and other behavioral issues that were not present prior to the natural disaster, conflict with authority, involvement in crime, using drugs and alcohol, becoming socially withdrawn and engaging in risky behavior.