Helpful tips and advice after Friday’s tragedy

Dear parents and caregivers,

We wanted to let you know how enormously proud of all the girls we are after the incredibly sad and horrific events that occurred on Friday.  We were impressed by the girls’ ability to follow instruction and keep themselves, and their peers, safe particularly for the prolonged period of time during the lockdown.

We have collated some of the tips and referral information that we feel may be useful to you over the coming days.

  • Limit exposure to the media reports. While it can feel important to stay informed about the event, television images and social media reports may be confusing, overwhelming and frightening for teenagers, and even adults. Additionally, we are aware that there are some images/videos about this event that should never be shared but are popping up unsolicited on some sites. So, limit your family’s exposure to all forms of media.
  • Validate feelings. It is normal for teenagers to feel sad, angry and even scared following Friday’s events and it is important to ensure that they can express their feelings and feel heard.
  • Return to normal routines as soon as possible. Teenagers benefit from routine activities such as set eating times, bedtimes, spending time with their peers and returning to school.
  • Be a model. Your teenager will learn how to deal with these events by seeing how you respond.  Remember to stay calm yourself as much as possible.
  • Encourage your teenager to do volunteer work. Helping others can give teenagers a sense of control and security and just generally lift their mood.
  • Be alert for significant changes in behaviour. These may include significant changes in your teenager’s sleeping patterns, eating habits, concentration levels as well as wide emotional swings or physical complaints. In the short-term these may be normal but seek professional help if they continue.
  • Give your teenager extra time and attention. This will help them to feel safe and cared for, and most importantly, will allow them to talk about anything that may be “on top” for them.

Teenagers experience traumatic or sudden events differently and we should not expect them to automatically have a negative reaction.  However, it is important to know that teenagers that are more likely to be impacted may include those who:

  • are separated from their families,
  • identify with those who have been killed or injured (e.g. are of the Muslim faith themselves),
  • have been through a traumatic event before,
  • have viewed the online footage from the perpetrator,
  • are already struggling with some form of emotional difficulty and
  • anyone who has lost a family member or friend through the shooting.

If you have concerns about how your teenager and/or family are coping since Friday, please feel free to contact the Care and Development Team at Rangi Ruru or the school psychologists Brinley and Melanie on psychologists@rangiruru.school.nz.

Alternatively, there are several government and NGO support lines that are trained and experienced in responding in these situations:

Helplines for children and young people

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor.
  • Youthline– 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
  • co.nz– or email team@thelowdown.co.nz or free text 5626.
  • What’s Up– 0800 942 8787 (for 5–18-year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, midday–11pm and weekends, 3pm–11pm. Online chat is available from 5pm–11pm 7 days a week, including all public holidays.
  • Kidsline– 0800 54 37 54 (0800 kidsline) for young people up to 18 years of age. Open 24/7.

Help for parents and caregivers

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor.
  • Commonground– A website hub providing parents, family, whānau and friends with access to information, tools and support to help a young person who is struggling.
  • Anxiety phone line– 0800 26A9 4389 (0800 ANXIETY)
  • Parent Help– 0800 568 856 for parents/whānau seeking support, advice and practical strategies on all parenting concerns. Anonymous, non-judgemental and confidential.
  • Family Services 211 Helpline– 0800 211 211 for help finding (and direct transfer to) community-based health and social support services in your area.
  • Skylight– 0800 299 100 for support through trauma, loss and grief; 9am–5pm weekdays.

 

These tips can also be downloaded here.

Rangi Life