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Connection and compassion key to dealing with community trauma

18 Mar 2019

Queensland Mental Health Commissioner Ivan Frkovic joins with people around the world in offering his sincere condolences to our New Zealand neighbours in the wake of the tragic events in Christchurch on Friday. 

He urges the entire Queensland community to unite and show compassion for all those impacted, particularly the victims of the attack, their families and friends, and the broader Muslim community. 

“Now more than ever, it is time to reach out to Muslim community members across our country, as our friends, our family and our neighbours,” Mr Frkovic said.

“At times like this, we are more determined than ever to show kindness towards each other and ensure we have strong and connected communities across Queensland.”

Mr Frkovic acknowledges the trauma that commonly goes hand in hand with such events of extreme violence. Although experienced most strongly by those directly impacted, he advises that some people experience secondary and vicarious trauma from indirect exposure through media stories and reports of such a traumatic event. 

“When we hear or see a particularly confronting event, for example, on television or social media, it can lead to feelings of shock, worry and distress, even though we may not have a direct link to the event. These feelings usually resolve in time, and with support from loved ones,” Mr Frkovic said.

He highlights the importance of identifying individuals early, particularly children, who display signs of secondary trauma as a result of this tragic event, and the need for collective action and support for Queensland’s Muslim community as they search for meaning from the event. 

Mr Frkovic encourages anyone feeling particularly vulnerable, or with persistent feelings of anxiety or depression, to seek professional help through:

Contact: Robyn Oberg, Queensland Mental Health Commission

3033 0345 or 0477 385 121 

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