It is very normal to feel a strong reaction to what has happened, and those feelings will be different for everyone. Some of us may be feeling very sad, upset or angry. Some of us may have no idea what to feel or do or say. All of this is very normal.
In the past few days we’ve been hearing from all kinds of people about how they are feeling. Nothing is too big or too small to contact us about.
Some of the following feelings may sound familiar:
In the days following this attack many messages, stories, articles and videos have been shared online, on TV and the radio. This intense focus is normal, as Aotearoa processes what has happened, but it can also feel very overwhelming - it seems that everywhere we look we are being reminded of what has happened.
Some of us have also seen some very violent images and videos on social media of the attack itself. Watching videos like this are not helpful. We encourage anyone who sees these to report the video or image, and to connect in with someone you trust to talk about it. You are also welcome to call or text us to talk it through.
As we watch our friends, media personalities and celebrities share their responses to this tragedy, it is normal to think you should be feeling a certain way. It is really important to know that we all process events like this differently, and there is no certain way you should be feeling right now. It’s normal to compare, but it is okay to be feeling differently to your mates.
There are some simple things you can do for yourself in this time, or if you notice a friend needs some extra love, you can remind them of these things too.
Kindness, kindness, kindness
It is an important time for kindness. Be kind to yourself first and foremost, especially during times of heightened emotions and stress. Do what you need to take care of yourself. If you’re not sure what that looks like for you, we recommend checking out the 5 ways to wellbeing from our friends at the Mental Health Foundation.
Also, kindness for one another. Offer to have a kōrero with your friends if you think they need it. Be extra kind to strangers, as we don’t know how other people might have been affected. It is also important to recognise that our Muslim community here in Aotearoa is grieving, and may be feeling additional fear and sadness. The attacks last week targeted this faith-based community during a time of peaceful worship, and that has had a big impact. The folks over at the Spinoff have put together some good ideas about supporting our Muslim whānau.
Take a social media break
Put down your phone for a while, adjust your screen-time settings, or even delete some apps for a while and add them back later. Social media is an echo chamber, and it can be really overwhelming to see the same images, reports and intense information over and over.
Take some time out and be aware of what is around you, sit and listen to the sounds and sights. Listen to music you really like. Music has an impact on our heart rate, so quieter, less intense music is more likely to help you chill out. Try something new that helps with stress, like yoga or meditation. Even simple breathing exercises can have a huge impact on how we feel.
Stick to your routine
Sometimes the best thing we can do in response to an event like what happened in Christchurch is to stick to our routines and what we can control. It’s okay to take time out to process. This is especially true for anyone bereaved or feeling significantly impacted. Where possible though, sticking to the everyday stuff can help - going to school, heading to practice, catching up with friends.
Spend time with family and friends
Hold your loved ones close. Make some extra time for your family and your friends. If you’re worried about someone, ask them how they’re feeling, or share how you’re feeling with someone you trust. Connecting with others is a powerful positive force.
If you’re supporting someone who is having a particularly hard time with what has happened, you’re welcome to contact us for help and guidance.
If you don’t feel like you can connect with family or friends right now, we’d love to hear from you.
We would love to hear from you - what happens when you call or text Youthline?
Calling or texting Youthline is free, anonymous and confidential.
When you call us, we try to make sure you are answered by a counsellor from the centre nearest to you. They will introduce themselves and ask you a little about yourself and how they can help. You can say anything you want in confidence and there will not be any comeback. In fact, you don't even need to use your own name.
If you are in a difficult position they may ask you how they can help and may offer some ideas, but it is not for them to make judgments or tell you what to do. They will work things out with you, not for you. Sometimes working through a problem might take more than one phone call or text, and that is okay. They will not judge or criticise you, or tell you what to do. You might be asked how you are feeling and be invited to talk about your feelings. We try to provide a comfortable and accepting experience to give you the time and space that you need to talk if you want to. You do not have to be in a crisis situation to ring or text.
Our counsellors are available by phone from 8am to midnight, and for crisis calls after midnight.
A text conversation with Youthline is not as instant as calling or chatting with us online. It usually takes 5-10 minutes to receive a message back.
Our counsellors are available by text from 8am to midnight.
If you want to talk about the terrorist attack in Christchurch and how you’re feeling now, a friend you are worried about, or anything else on your mind, please reach out.
Call us for free at 0800 37 66 33
Text us for free at 234
For more answers to frequently asked questions about our Helpline check out the links below.