Supporting you to respond, recover and restore after the tragic event in Christchurch

This page provides information on how to support adults to recover well after a tragic event. It includes guides on understanding your own responses, supporting staff, and sleeping well.

Spending time with friends, whānau, neighbours, work colleagues and reflecting on your faith and spiritual connections is important. Being with others helps reduce feelings of distress. Focusing on your spirituality can help get you through. Whether it’s supporting your family and whānau, neighbours, colleagues or looking after yourself, some of the ideas in this tip sheet might help.

Be assured that most people do recover well when they call on their own natural supports, natural coping mechanisms and resilience.


One important thing that we know helps is to get back to or develop a structured routine. This will help improve decision making. It might also help your colleagues and/or family feel safe and secure.

Normal reactions

Everyone reacts differently at times like this. You don’t need to judge your reactions as right or wrong, bad or good. Your response will be different from others depending on your experience of the event, your past experiences, your faith or spiritual connections, your own resilience, the extent of support from your whānau, friends and colleagues, your health and the level of practical/operational support you have access to.

Shock, distress, tears and being upset are natural responses to an act of violence in the community. They’re not necessarily indicative of a traumatic response or the likelihood that you’ll develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you have distressed feelings for a long period of time, then consider getting help.

For most people who were not directly affected by the incident, the immediate feelings will dissipate over the days and weeks following as your coping strategies and support networks help you come to terms with the experience. For some, the real impact may be weeks or even months after the event.


The tragic event challenged beliefs about our environments, communities and places we live.  Now will be a good time to reassess and reaffirm your and your whānau’s values. This values base is the very place where response, recovery and ongoing wellbeing lies. It will help you, and those around you, to frame your thinking and actions. It will help you make considered choices and actions towards recovery. It’s also a place from which you can safely examine alternative and diverse world views.

Common issues and ways to respond

These information sheets outline some of the more common issues and concerns that people experience after a stressful event. They include tips on how to support yourself, and for managers and school/early childhood leaders on how to support your staff. 

Tips for adults - Supporting you to respond, recover and restore after the tragic event in Christchurch [PDF, 445 KB]

Getting a good night's sleep after the tragic event in Christchurch [PDF, 465 KB]

Management guide to supporting staff following the tragic event in Christchurch [PDF, 473 KB]

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