Support for those affected by Sydney tragedy

AT the request of the Prime Minister, flags are today flying at half-mast on government buildings across Australia, including the Derwent Valley Council Chambers in New Norfolk. In a statement, the Commonwealth Flag Officer said this action had been taken to honour the victims of the tragic events at Bondi Junction, Sydney, on April 13.

Mental health support is available for people affected by the incident in which six people were killed by a lone attacker. Beyond Blue chief executive Georgie Harman said people could experience a wide range of feelings and emotions when shocking events happen in a community.

Ms Harman said feelings of shock, grief, immense sadness, anger, fear and helplessness were normal as people tried to process events such as Saturday’s stabbings. “It will take time for emotions to settle, but it’s never too early to seek support if you are feeling distressed,” she said.

A similar message has come from Kids Helpline, which is available to support children, young people and their families dealing with sadness and distress. Kids Helpline counsellors advise the following tips for helping young people:  

  • Be there. Let them know that it’s OK and normal to be concerned and worried about this e.g. “Yes it’s very sad isn’t it?”
  • Have a discussion about what happened and help them process what’s occurred
  • Try to limit their exposure to media stories around the tragedy. Having them view or hear over and over what has occurred can re-traumatise them and build anxiety. It’s OK to simply turn off the news for a while and use it as an opportunity to talk  
  • Try to find something positive to do. This might simply be writing out a card, contributing to a fundraising campaign, or encouraging their school to do something
  • Stick to your normal daily routine. Kids draw a deal of comfort and safety around routine and consistency. Ensure they continue to socialise with friends
  • Hugs and comfort. Let them know they are loved and that they are safe
  • Look after you. Don’t forget to look after you. This can be a stressful time for everyone.

Beyond Blue Support Service: 1300 22 4636 or beyondblue.org.au/getsupport

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only national 24/7 counselling and support service, specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. www.kidshelpline.com.au or free call 1800 55 1800

See more Derwent Valley and Central Highlands news online and read our print edition every second Friday.

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