Helping Northern Rivers Flood Communities

Feb 28, 2023 | Blog Articles

While the Lismore and Northern Rivers floods have subsided, one year on, physical and emotional impacts continue to be felt. People are struggling to get back on their feet and many are living in a state of limbo. When stress continues over weeks and months, as it has for many people, our alert systems are switched on all the time.

Read how Quest is helping these people and communities to recover from trauma.

On 28 February 2022, the biggest flood in modern Australian history inundated Lismore and the rest of the Northern Rivers, followed by a second flood 21 days later. More than 30,000 people were affected, 10,000 left homeless, essential business decimated, key infrastructure affected, and communities left in a state of high anxiety.

“We know that trauma might not surface until many months after a disaster, and the emotional and human impact starts to surface”.

Petrea King

In the aftermath of the floods, Quest for Life, renowned for its work with disaster-affected communities, was requested to deliver a trauma relief program to the Northern Rivers communities.

Quest’s support has touched the lives of over 500 people directly, and thousands more indirectly, bringing relief to the trauma they’ve experienced, and boosting the local economy.

There was a definitely a shift in the collective anxiety and grief in our community after your visit. Thanks again we’re very appreciative and grateful for all you’ve done for us. 🖖🏽

Northern Rivers resident

The series of initiatives includes Your Life Matters trauma recovery and resilience community workshops; Northern Rivers Massage Therapy Initiative; and financial support for people to attend a 5-day residential program at Quest.

“People hold so much tension in their bodies when they’ve gone through a disaster because cortisol and adrenalin levels remain high. This results in tension, irritability, insomnia and anxiety. Some people said they had their first night’s sleep since the disaster after a massage”.

Petrea King

Helping Flood Communities Recover

Over 300 people received trauma-informed massages, around 200 people attended workshops in the Northern Rivers and many have subsequently attended Quest’s residential programs in the Southern Highlands, NSW.

The impact of these initiatives ripples out into participants’ families and communities.

A generous donation from Jaycar Electronics and other donors, fundraising, grants and generosity of spirit enabled Quest and a team of trauma-informed massage therapists to deliver this support.

“Massage is an incredibly useful therapy to offer people who’ve been impacted by a natural disaster. The level of cortisol and adrenaline in people’s bodies is so high that it interferes with sleep and increases anxiety and irritability.

Experiencing relief through gentle, therapeutic touch is a powerful way of activating a person’s parasympathetic nervous system – which in turn enables people to relax, to sleep and to feel more at ease within themselves. Our issues are in our tissues! Resolve the stress and tension – and people’s mental health improves.”

Petrea King

Quest fundraises to ensure our support for Northern Rivers communities continues into 2023 and beyond.

How our trauma relief programs help

The workshops help participants to understand the impact of stress and trauma on minds and bodies by exploring pathways to post-traumatic growth and by providing tools and strategies to empower people and communities to heal from their trauma.

Participants received evidenced-based information about neuroplasticity and epigenetics, as well an insights from Petrea’s 38 years of working with individuals and communities experiencing trauma.

“I wasn’t aware of how much grief and stress I was carrying, until my first treatment. It brought me to tears to realise I’ve neglected my self-care”.


“I’m so grateful Quest came to Lismore. Petrea was amazing, I love the approach to taking back our own power and responsibility for our own wellbeing.”


The Quest for Life Foundation helps people living with the consequences of trauma, illness and natural disasters to find hope, healing and peace.

We provide educational self-help programs in the Southern Highlands, NSW, community-based workshops around Australia, and online courses that encourage, educate and empower people to improve their resilience and peace of mind during difficult times. People reach out to Quest for help during their most challenging times, whether that hardship is caused by physical or mental illness, domestic or family violence, financial strain, grief, trauma or natural disaster.

As a charity, we rely on income from donations and grants to subsidise the cost of attendance at our residential programs and to facilitate our free community outreach workshops in regional communities.

Related Articles

Funding Options for Residential Programs


Quest subsidises all privately or self-funded places to ensure the cost of our programs remains affordable to individuals. This allows us to reduce the fee from $4,400 to $2,800.

$2,200 Shared room (Early bird* $2,100 – must be paid 30 days in advance)
$2,800 Single room (Early bird* $2,700 – must be paid 30 days in advance)

Fees effective 1 July 2023.

Subsidies and Financial Help

Through generous grants, donations and fundraising, additional subsidies and financial help is available for a range of circumstances and anyone experiencing financial stress will be considered. We review each case individually and we do not means test. All applications are conducted via phone with a friendly member of the Programs intake team.


Quest is a registered NDIS Provider. Residential Programs can be funded through plan-managed and self-managed NDIS plans.


We work with Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) White Card or Gold Card holders to make applications to the DVA Health Approvals Board.

Worker’s Comp Insurance

Residential programs can be covered by workers compensation insurance on a case-by-case basis.

Call our Programs Advisers Today
1300 941 488