Supporting people affected by the Christchurch mosque attacks

The Ministry of Health is developing a national approach to support people and communities affected by the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The Ministry recognises that responding to and recovering from these shocking and horrific acts will take time and require effort and resources from many parts of society.

The events of 15 March 2019 have been very distressing for those directly impacted and victims, witnesses and their families are more likely to have ongoing need for support into the future.

Distress related to the attacks is not limited to those living in Christchurch. Many people throughout New Zealand were profoundly shocked and saddened by this horrific act of violence.

Development of response plan

In addition to working with Canterbury DHB to coordinate and respond to the immediate needs, the Ministry is developing a plan to guide the longer term response and recovery actions at the national level over the next year.

The Ministry is developing a plan of action that will cover:

  • 6 weeks to 3 months – moving into the recovery phase; ensuring access to interventions for those who need it, ongoing coordination and support for Canterbury DHB recovery plan.
  • 3 to 6 months – assessing ongoing support needs, continuing to ensure access to appropriate support and interventions, ongoing coordination and support for Canterbury DHB recovery plan.
  • 6 to 12 months – continuing to ensure access to appropriate support and interventions, reviewing actions under this plan and making any recommendations for further support based on identified needs, ongoing coordination and support for Canterbury DHB recovery plan. 

The Ministry of Health continues to work with other agencies in developing this plan. 

Updates on this plan will be provided on this page as work progresses.

Actions in Christchurch

In terms of the high-level response, Canterbury DHB continues to:

  • Meet with the Muslim community to understand their needs and aspirations
  • Meet with other agencies to share information and coordinate activities
  • Work with MSD and others to establish the Integrated Whanau Wellbeing Response
  • Work with primary care and community agencies to streamline access pathways and provide culturally appropriate support
  • Expand the clinical leadership to provide a wide range of perspectives.

Plan for the coming weeks and months, including what resources will be required.

Specific actions and interventions at the local level include the following:

  • Free access to primary health care (GP visits) has been available to those directly affected by the attacks through Pegasus Health, Rural Canterbury PHO and Christchurch PHO.
  • Direct access to primary mental health services is in place with clear pathways agreed for people identified by organisations such as Victim Support. This team includes Muslim people from outside Christchurch (from Kahui Tu Kaha) who will be in place until at least the end of April.
  • Primary and specialist health services are collaborating to meet the needs of victims. People discharged from hospital have a wrap-around package of care.
  • Canterbury DHB are setting up a ‘virtual hub’ as a central place that people can access information.
  • Victim Support continues to work with the families of the deceased, the injured and their families, and witnesses to the event. They are linking people through to primary mental health services as appropriate. The core group of victims are those who were attacked in the mosques, and there is a wider group of people that have affected in and around the area.
  • The All Right? campaign. All Right? is a wellbeing promotion initiative funded by the Ministry of Health and led by the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand is rolling out new messages tailored to the whole community.
  • The Mana Ake – Stronger for Tomorrow programme provides support for children aged five to 12 years across Canterbury. There are 62 FTE Mana Ake kaimahi working in 165 Canterbury primary schools. The final complement of a further 18 kaimahi was welcomed into the role on 1 April 2019. The initiative network is a way to recognise the support needs of children in Canterbury, and is supporting the response of the Ministry of Education’s Traumatic Incident teams. The Mana Ake project team established a hub based at the Canterbury Design Lab to triage requests for support and they have connected with all schools to determine need.
  • A fact sheet, amalgamating information from Police and Canterbury DHB was provided to all schools. An information pack for parents has been developed and provided to schools in response to queries from schools where parent drop in sessions have been held.
  • The ‘Leading Lights’ website (one of the Mana Ake initiative’s key elements) is supporting the Mana Ake response across the education sector.
  • ACC is receiving claims for mental injury.
  • Workforce needs: supervision needs are being considered to increase cultural capacity and capability.
  • A clinical leadership group that includes Muslim expertise is overseeing the immediate response and planning for the coming phases.
  • Canterbury DHB is participating in cross agency processes at all levels, including the development of a case management/navigator approach to ensure a coordinated response across agencies (based on Integrated Safety Response model).
  • The Canterbury Charity Hospital is providing free counselling sessions following the attack.
  • Ngāi Tahu has provided leadership to the people of Canterbury and has been actively providing support and manaakitanga to those directly affected and the many visitors and dignitaries.

More information

Supporting people after the Christchurch mosque attacks: Plan for the first three months to 15 June 2019 (Word, 258 KB).

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