Teachers welcome help for traumatised children

NZEI Te Riu Roa is welcoming support for children in Christchurch and Kaikoura who have lived through the horror of earthquakes in their regions.

Teacher Jordan Shallcrass who taught in East Christchurch and now teaches at Rolleston School, sees the effects every day of the earthquakes in Christchurch. She welcomes the new initiative because she says more children need to access counselling – and says some are still traumatised.

“There is a lot of anxiety in children – they still they find it hard to focus and to participate in all the learning experiences.”

She says some children will sit near an exit and are too scared to go on class trips or be away from their parents.

There are also long waiting lists in Christchurch for children to get access to mental health support, she says.

The Prime Minister today announced the first stage of the Government’s plan to deliver dedicated mental health support to primary and intermediate schools in the region.

 It is the first step in a $28 million programme that will be rolled out over the next three years. It will result in a mental health worker for approximately every 500 primary and intermediate age school children in Canterbury. Every primary school aged child in Canterbury will have access to a mental health worker.

NZEI Te Riu President Lynda Stuart said educators in Christchurch and Kaikoura have been at the forefront of helping children in the aftermath of the earthquakes and schools are hubs of support for communities in times of trouble.

“It is great that this is going to be rolled out through schools, and we would welcome an extension of the scheme throughout the country for all children needing mental health support.”

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