Kia ora koutou,
As a university community we condemn the attacks in Christchurch and extend our solidarity and support to our community, especially our Muslim staff and students and their whānau.
We continue to offer support to all students and staff. We would like to remind our students and staff that there is help available and you are not alone. Please see below for more details.
A drop in centre will be available tomorrow, Sunday 17 March, for students and staff from 10am – 1pm in the Puaka-James Hight Library, where support will be available.
The UC Students’ Association and clubs, including SVA are providing outreach support to students. All tests and assignments are cancelled from 18 – 24 March. Your course coordinator will be in touch. Special consideration and allowances will be available. More details to follow.
Any staff needing support should talk to their manager. Additional Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) professionals have been relocated to their Christchurch office to provide dedicated onsite support throughout the coming weeks. If you require EAP support, please call them on 0800 327 669 at any time.
We anticipate the University will be fully open and operating as usual on Monday 18 March. On Monday at 12pm the UC community will gather together on C-Block lawn to show solidarity and support for one another. More details to come on Sunday afternoon.
If you are you concerned about your safety or have any information you wish to report, need any support or have any questions contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 823 637.
We know this will have a deep impact on people and we are committed to supporting our UC community, especially the safety and wellbeing of all staff and students. We’d like to remind everyone to take care of themselves and each other, to seek help early, and that counselling is available for UC students and staff.
Professor Cheryl de la Rey
Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae
Common reaction to traumatic events and news
Over the next few days or weeks you may experience any of the following emotions. Please remember this is a normal reaction as the healing process takes place. Everybody’s individual experience will be different, and different people will react in a different way. You may find that your reaction is delayed.
Some common emotional responses are:
- Shock, numbness
- Moodiness and irritability
- Anxiety, worrying, panic
- Jumpiness, hyper-vigilance
- Feeling of helplessness
- Sadness, depression
- Disturbing images or memories
- Nausea, headaches
- Feeling vulnerable or unsafe
- Social withdraw
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Anger and blame of others
- Numbness or feeling like you are not reacting
Reasons for feeling anxious during and after traumatic events
There are many reasons why you may still feel distressed after an event. It may be because:
- Someone you care about was injured or passed away, and you are grieving over your loss.
- You are supporting your children who are traumatised.
- Those events remind you of past distressing events in your life.
- You worry about your safety.
- People around you continue to show signs of stress due to the events.
Coping with these reactions
Below are some helpful tips that could help you and those who are close to you cope with stress reactions:
- Allow yourself to experience those thoughts and feelings (even if you are not directly affected).
- Talk openly about your thoughts and feelings to someone you trust.
- Take time to look after yourself – make sure you keep doing things that you enjoy (eg. taking walks, hobbies, music, reading etc.).
- Allow others to experience their thoughts and feelings, remembering that their reactions and timing of reactions may be different to yours.
- Limit your exposure to social media and media reports, and monitor how the information may affect you.
- Spend time with people you care about, including family and friends.
- Seek support.
If you need to talk to a trained counsellor, free call or text 1737 from your mobile phone.
There are a number of services on campus you can contact for help at UC:
- Student Care (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk) – Student Care can provide you a place to talk to someone if you do not know what to do, and also have a team of dedicated Student Advisors for both domestic and international students.
- UC Health Centre (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/healthcentre) – you can make an appointment to talk to a health professional including nurses, doctors and counsellors to help you get through this difficult time. If you need to be seen straight away, please tell the Health Centre reception staff that your situation is urgent; they will then find a health professional you can talk to.
- UCSA Advocacy and Welfare (https://ucsa.org.nz/student-support/advocacy-welfare/) can help you if you are experiencing financial difficulties at this time, including support with food, and can help you communicate with your teaching staff and apply for extensions and Special Consideration if you are finding your study is being affected; and
- UC Chaplains (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/health/chaplains), who are available if you need someone to talk to.
There are also additional resources and support services in the community that you can access from home, and can assist non-students who you know have been affected are:
- Lifeline: 0800 543 354
- Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
- Victim Support: 0800 842 846
Supporting Each Other
International students and students from minority groups may be feeling especially vulnerable or affected. Please remember to check-in with one another, ask “Are you okay?”, and encourage each other to contact family and loved ones (especially those outside of Christchurch) as often as they need to. If there is anything they need, please encourage them to contact the many support services available both inside and outside the University community.
If you are concerned about a friend, flatmate, or other acquaintance who may not be reaching out but still needs assistance, please contact any of the above services who may be able to get in touch with that person.
After the Christchurch Earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, people from all across the city came together to support each other, and create new feelings of community and mutual support. Difficult circumstances can often unite people. Many people within our emergency services and the general public risked their own safety to help those who were suffering. We believe that our city and community will respond with that same spirit of togetherness and mutual support again.