SPECIAL REPORT: Christchurch... 5 months on

Five months ago, a rifle-wielding gunman opened fire at two mosques in Christchurch, causing the deaths of many and injuring dozens more, including children.

This single act of terrorism affected many people, not only in New Zealand, but across the globe. In their grief, people banded together, providing much needed comfort and support for each other. It was an experience that was both distressing and frightening, especially for tamariki, as it challenged their sense of security.

Gauging a child’s response to such a crisis will depend on a wide range of factors such as their age, stage of development and personality, and of course the impact it had on their family. Traumatic symptoms will vary and it is important that parents and care givers are aware of these.

Sometimes delayed-onset PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), can develop six months after a traumatic event. Children can appear to cope well at first, but then develop symptoms in the coming months.

There are many effective treatments now available for trauma, grief and PTSD. It is important to consult your medical practitioner or a mental health professional for further information.