Tag Archives: earthquake

Helping families/whānau and children to cope with trauma and grief after the earthquake

After the appalling earthquake in Christchurch on 22nd February, parents and teachers will have the role of reassuring and working with children who have suffered trauma. Sadly, these teachers and parents may already be coping with their own fears and feelings resulting from the ongoing stress of aftershocks and, the trauma of this most recent earthquake. Whānau and teachers will be looking for ways that they can support young people. For some children, recovery is likely to be a complex process that will take varying periods of time.
Where to go for advice
The Ministry of Education provides tips and advice about the importance of regular and ‘normal’ routines and ways of helping children to gain a sense of control over their fears. There are down-loadable resources available that will be helpful to teachers and parents who are supporting children who maybe unsettled and upset. Making these available to both teachers and parents may be one powerful way that you can support children and their families. In addition The Mental Health Foundation, Ministry of Health and the Royal New Zealand Air Force have useful information on their websites. Links for all of these are at the bottom of the page. The psychologist Nigel Latta was interviewed on TV1 in the days after the ‘quake. He had some very practical suggestions to help adults who are dealing with their own and their children’s reactions to this event.
Helping children with their fears and memories
This article in the NZ Herald, written after the September earthquake, ‘Parents call for help to comfort kids terrified by Christchurch earthquake’ provides useful advice for helping children who are struggling with memories and feelings after the earthquake: Clinical psychologist Sarb Johal explained that children needed to make sense of things that happened. When children didn’t have all the facts, they used their imagination to fill the gaps. “Often this results in misunderstandings, which they may keep to themselves, especially if they are frightening. What they imagine is usually more frightening than what really happened.”
In the same article, Dr Lyndy Matthews, chairwoman of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand committee, wrote that earthquake victims might be affected by shock, grief and loss and it was important that help was available to them in the aftermath. She said a lot could be done to help, but caution was required in revisiting the traumatic events through “debriefing”, as it could compound the trauma.

road damage Christchurch earthquake

Herald Article link

Ministry of Education link
The Mental Health Foundation
Blog
Coping after an Earthquake

Ministry of Health fact sheets

Royal New Zealand Airforce

TV1 Nigel Latta offering advice

Written by Elaine Newton, Early Years Facilitator Hauraki/Thames/Coromandel

Back to ‘normal’? Helping children settle back to school or ece settings

Fence damaged by falling bricks

With the likelihood of children returning to early childhood settings and schools soon, teachers will be looking for ways that they can support their students. For some children, recovery is likely to be a complex process that can take varying periods of time to work through. Teachers will also be experiencing their own feelings and fears about what has happened.

Where to go for advice

The Ministry of Education provides advice about the importance of regular and ‘normal’ routines and ways of helping children to gain a sense of control over their fears, as well as downloadable resources that will be helpful to teachers and parents who are supporting children who might be unsettled and upset. Their downloadable ‘Tips’ sheets (Tips supporting Toddlers, Tips supporting Children, Tips supporting Teenagers and Tips Supporting Adults) will be very useful to teachers and parents alike. Making them available to both teachers and parents may be one powerful way that you can support children and their families.

For Schools and centres that might need help

The techie whiz-kids at CORE Education have created a new website to enable centres and schools that have been damaged to request assistance from the wider community. If you have damage to your buildings and equipment go to the website http://quake.core-ed.org/ and enter the details of your school or ECE service and the kind of assistance that you require. People and businesses who are in a position to help will respond via the CORE website. This initiative will help to bring together the army of people ‘out there’ who are ready, willing, and able to help, and the schools and services that need help.

Helping children with their fears and memories

This article in the NZ Herald ‘Parents call for help to comfort kids terrified by Christchurch earthquake’ also has some useful advice for helping children who are struggling with memories and feelings after the earthquake:  Clinical psychologist Sarb Johal said that children needed to make sense of things that happened and when they didn’t have all the facts, they used their imagination to fill the gaps. “Often this results in misunderstandings, which they may keep to themselves, especially if they are frightening. What they imagine is usually more frightening than what really happened.”

In the same article, Dr Lyndy Matthews, chairwoman of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists’ New Zealand committee, said earthquake victims might be affected by shock, grief and loss and it was important that help was available to them in the aftermath.She said a lot could be done to help, but caution was required in revisiting the traumatic events through “debriefing”, as it could compound the trauma.

Herald Article link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10671563

Ministry of Education link: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/Schools/SchoolOperations/CanterburyEarthquake/Schools/TraumaticIncidentInformation.aspx
CORE Education Website for reporting damage or offering help http://quake.core-ed.org

Image flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hadevereux/ (Creative commons share-alike license)

Written by Elaine Newton, Early Years Facilitator Hauraki/Thames/Coromandel