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PTSD Assistance Needed In Christchurch

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
PTSD Assistance Needed In Christchurch

The Royal New Zealand College of Genereal Practitioners is calling on health agencies to ensure the longer-term emotional after-effects of the earthquake are dealt with appropriately.

College deputy president, Dr Tony Townsend said it is likely that some people will suffer post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the magnitude 7.1 earthquake.

"It's normal for people to feel anxious after a major event like this, and most people will recover.

"However, some people, especially women, children and the eldery, may continue to feel anxious for longer periods and it is essential that these people see their general practitioner.

"Parents and teachers of younger children should keep an eye on their charges over coming weeks to note any signs of behaviour change."

Dr Townsend said it is essential that health agencies plan and organise for enough trained people to be available at that time to assist people in need.

"Trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy is widely reecognised as the most effective intervention for PTSD," he said.

"Given that only a small percentage of New Zealand's mental health professionals is trained in trauma-focused CBT, is is likely that even fewer primary health care professionals will have had such training.

"The latest issue of the College's publication, the Journal of Primarh Healthcare, discussed this subject and called for a cadre of healthcare professionals to be trained in CBT for trauma.

"The events of this weekend highlight the need to address this issue in light of New Zealand's high likelihood of having a natural disaster in which many people could be injured."

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