Research: Quake claims result in health problems

Cantabrians with unsettled quake claims are more likely to argue with their partner, have health issues and experience financial problems, new research shows.

The research, commissioned by the All Right? well-being campaign, included interviews and surveys with nearly a thousand people in Christchurch, the Waimakariri and Selwyn.

All Right? manager Sue Turner said there were good signs of psychological recovery, but major concerns for homeowners who were yet to settle their insurance or Earthquake Commission claim.

There had been a drop in the number of Cantabrians worrying about another big earthquake, fewer said they struggled to cope with all that happened as a result of the earthquakes and more felt connected to greater Christchurch.  

Canterbury District Health Board public health specialist  Dr Lucy D'Aeth said clearly progress has been made but the mental health and wellbeing of those with unsettled insurance and EQC claims was a major area of concern.

"Clearly the challenges go beyond living in a broken house. Unsettled claims are impacting on people's physical and mental health, relationships and finances."

In 2012, 69 per cent of Cantabrians All Right? surveyed had an unsettled insurance claim. The figure had dropped to 29 per cent at the end of 2014.

She said Cantabrians who were in a better situation should do "little things to help give them a boost. Things like going out for coffee, catching up for a walk, picking some flowers from our garden or a phone call to check they're all right". 

"It's all about ensuring we don't permanently become a tale of two cities and that all our people recover from the devastating effects the earthquake has had too." 

Survey findings

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- 63 per cent said life was much worse than before the earthquakes

- 46 per cent report health issues

- 44 per cent said their current living situation was getting them down 

- 19 per cent said they argued with their partner more than before the earthquakes 

- 39 per cent experienced more financial problems

 - The Press

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