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  • Writer's pictureNicole King

How to Support Ourselves and Others following a Traumatic Event

Updated: May 7

In the wake of the events in Sydney over the weekend, many are grappling with profound shock and sorrow. The loss of innocent lives engaged in everyday activities is deeply distressing, leaving us with unanswered questions and a sense of vulnerability. It's natural to experience heightened anxiety and sadness following such an event.

As we start to comprehend and process the events, the intensity of these emotions will usually in time start to subside, but it can be important to have some tools and strategies to navigate these intense emotions and also be able to support those around us who may be struggling.


Some tools that might help:

  • Lifeline Self Support Toolkit. This is a toolkit on the Lifeline website which empowers people to access support on their own terms – it covers techniques and strategies, tools and apps, real stories, support services, and support guides.

  • Phoenix Australia has some information on how to help yourself following a traumatic event

  • Helping Others

  • Helping Children and Teens

  • Eye of the Hurricane Mediation - These meditations can guide you to centre yourself and discover inner peace. It encourages you to view your thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations as the swirling winds of a hurricane, while reminding you that you have the power to detach from them by focusing on your breath and envisioning yourself in the calm eye of the storm.

o   3 Minute Eye of the Hurricane Meditation by Insight Timer website

o   10 Minute Eye of the Hurricane Meditation by Positive Psychology

o   19 Minute Eye of the Hurricane Meditation by Insight Timer (16 minutes)


Support Services and Helplines

General support for the community is available via the following organisations:

·      Lifeline: Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online.

·      Kids Helpline: Call 1800 55 1800 or chat online.

·      Beyond Blue: Call 1300 22 4636 or chat online.

·      1800RESPECT: Call 1800 737 732, text 0458 737 732 or chat online.

·      13 Yarn: Call 13 92 76.

·      MensLine Australia: Call 1300 78 99 78.

Those directly affected by the trauma and who witnessed the incidents may find it harder to cope. Some may experience challenges in processing these events and their resulting emotions. More dedicated support for those affected by the incident can receive support at:

  • Victims Support Scheme: Victims and families can access support via a dedicated phone line. This service can be reached on 1800 019 123, and will be staffed from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

  • The NSW Mental Health Line: This mental health support phone line has been boosted with extra staff and is available 24/7, with specialist staff who are available to speak to anyone affected by the attack. Call 1800 011 511.

  • Support to the families: NSW Police have assigned a Family Liaison Officer to support each impacted family of those whose lives were tragically taken. 

There may also be post-disaster mental health support and support for first responders.

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