Our research on Canterbury
In February 2016 All Right? released its latest survey on Cantabrians’ mental health as the region recovers from the earthquakes.
The research showed there has been some improvement in how people are feeling since the survey was first carried out in 2012:
- Fewer of us still worry about another big earthquake (42% in this survey compared with 54% in 2012).
- Fewer of us feel that life is worse now than before the quakes (28% in this survey compared with 38% in 2012).
- There is a lot of hope and optimism in the region with 79% of those surveyed saying they feel lucky, 91% happy and 73% excited about the future.
It is also clear that the earthquakes and recovery related-stressors are still affecting Cantabrians’ wellbeing, with 61% of those surveyed still grieving for what we’ve lost.
The research also showed that unsettled insurance claims are having a negative impact on how people feel:
- More than a third of those with an unsettled claim say their living situation is currently getting them down – nearly three times as many as those with settled claims (12%).
- Half of those with unsettled claims say their life is much worse than before the earthquakes, compared with 26% of those with settled claims.
The research was carried out by Opinions Market Research in November 2015. It consisted of a survey of a representative sample of 800 randomly selected individuals, aged 15 years or older living in Christchurch and the Waimakariri and Selwyn Districts, as well as eight focus groups.
- Download the 2016 All Right? research summary.
- Download the 2015 All Right? research summary.
- Download the 2014 All Right? research summary.
- Download the 2012 All Right? research summary.
How disasters affect mental health
Natural disasters like the Canterbury earthquakes have a major impact on people's mental health. In fact, international literature suggests that psychosocial recovery after a disaster can take five to ten years.
A key reason for this is that there's often a double blow – the shock and effects of the disaster itself, and then secondary, recovery-related issues such as dealing with broken homes, insurance claims, poor roading and the loss of community facilities.
These secondary issues – sometimes called 'manmade stressors' – can be worse than the disaster itself, particularly if the recovery is long, as they erode wellbeing over time.