More than a third of Australians have been hit by successive disasters in the past two years, with new research finding two in five feel less hopeful about the future.
The survey of over 1000 people, conducted by the Australian Red Cross, found the pandemic alone had negatively impacted the mental health of two in five people.
Some 42 per cent said they felt less control over the future than before the pandemic and 37 per cent said they felt less secure and safe.
Of the more than a third who had experienced compound disasters, more reported a negative impact on their mental health, sense of hopefulness for the future and sense of security and safety than Australians who had not.
The impact of years of successive disasters - drought, fire, floods and the pandemic - have led to compounding negative effects unlike the Australian Red Cross has ever seen before, the charity's Head of Emergency Services Andrew Coghlan said.
"In terms of the number, the quantity and the impact of disasters that we're seeing, there's no question the last two years have been massive.
"At the moment, it feels like there's a constant and steady flow of major-impact disasters on communities.
"The impacts of COVID-19 and lockdowns in particular are making recovery harder - from rebuilding or repairing lost property, or drawing comfort from your suport network.
"You rely on other people ... and if your friends or family are interstate and suddenly they can't move across the country to provide support ... it just increases the challenges that anyone faces in recovering from a disaster."
And it's likely only going to get worse, he says.
"The numbers of disasters that we respond to in a year, that's gone up substantially over the last five years or so," he said.
"We're probably responding to close to twice the number of disasters we would have 10 years ago.
So it's critical people do their best to prepare themselves for them, he said, with research showing those who do, recover quickly - phsycially, financially and psychosocially.
"Anything you can do that puts you in a better position to deal with something when it happens will mean that you get through the recovery process a little bit more effectively," Mr Coghlan said.
Resources to help families prepare for disasters is available on the Red Cross website and its Get Prepared app.
Australian Associated Press