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Written by Karey Meisner

If you were thinking what I was thinking during the rolling motion of the recent 7.8 'Kaikoura' earthquake, there was a moment of 'how is this gonna end?'.

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And of course for many it has not ended well. Damage to homes, businesses, roading, and to persons will have its effects both immediate and for the longer term for people of both islands. Watching what is happening in Wellington makes me realise how their earthquake related experiences are becoming eerily similar to ours here in Christchurch (Let's just hope it doesn't get any more similar..). For people in Canterbury in particular, it may have stirred up those old feelings or, alternatively, as one person said to me recently, "Kaikoura was my safe haven while I worked through earthquake related issues over the past 6 years. Now I need to make another insurance claim". Many of you will understand the emotions that will be related to this.

In 2013, All Right? was set up in Cantabury by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation in response to surveys that found a number of Cantabrians were not doing all that well emotionally. There have a helpline (0800 777 846) as well as community based events to for general support. In addition, free Ministry of Social Development earthquake counselling is still available at designated counselling services for those who are eligible. The Christchurch based Mental Health Education Resource Centre has a list of counsellors/agencies who provide this (03 365 5344). 

For some of you it may be that you were already feeling quite traumatised even before the recent November quakes. This could be left over from the events of 2011. If you find you are always feeling on edge and are easily and regularly triggered into past experiences related to the quakes, you may be showing signs of post traumatic stress. Dr Rob Gordon, an Australian Disaster Psychologist (and Advisor to CERA) talks (see here) about the long road to recovery for a small  number of people (around 5% of the population) who will develop these symptoms.

 

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