Australians across the country are following the devastating news from Osmington, a town on the outskirts of Margaret River in WA, where seven people were found dead.
While we now know what happened on the morning of Friday 11 May, the reality facing the community is hard to comprehend.
Red Cross psychological first aid teams have been supporting the close-knit Margaret River community since the weekend.
“Events like this can really shake people’s perceptions of what’s normal and what’s safe,” says Linda Crumlin, Red Cross Director in Western Australia.
“It’s normal to feel upset, anxious and distressed. Those feelings take time to resolve.”
Linda recommends reaching out to others – for their sake as well as yours.
“Talk to people your trust about the event and your reactions. If someone you know is affected, the best thing you can do is spend time with them and listen to what they have to say.
Here are some things you may experience after a stressful event.
One of the major concerns for residents is how to explain the unexplainable to their children.
Here are some tips and a resource that can help.
Helping kids cope with traumatic news
- Listen to what they have to say.
- Help them understand what happened. Be honest.
- Reassure them about the future.
- Try to keep a normal routine.
- Be open about your thoughts and feelings.
- Make time for your family to be together, have fun, play and laugh.
- Ask them to be brave or tough.
- Expect them to 'get over it' quickly.
- Get angry if they show emotion.
- Force them to tell their stories.
- Pretend that you're OK.
Red Cross will continue to offer support in the days and weeks to come.
“These events can shake communities, as they challenge what we take for granted,” Linda says. “But they can also bring us closer – to draw strength from one another, help one another and find a new normal together.”
More tips on coping with stress and trauma.