Red Cross launches guide to help families recover from disasters

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To coincide with National Families Week, Red Cross is launching a free guide to help families who are dealing with trauma. The booklet, Helping children and young people cope with crisis, is for parents whose children have experienced a traumatic event, like the recent floods, fires and cyclones that occurred over summer.

Michael Raper, Director of Red Cross Services and International Operations, said that most children need extra support after an emergency.

'Help for kids is best delivered early and by people they trust, like family and friends.'

'Emergencies are a worrying time for parents, but information and understanding can help throughout their child's recovery, which can take weeks, months or even years, depending on their experiences.'

It was identified after the 2009 Victorian bushfires that there was a lack of readily available material for parents with children affected by crises. Helping children and young people cope with crisis includes personal stories and suggestions from parents who have experienced emergencies across Australia, as well as tips from leading child trauma psychologists on how to manage and respond to children's reactions.

'We have learned from past disasters that how parents recover is the strongest indicator of how a child will cope,' says trauma psychotherapist Bronwyn Tarrant. 'When parents have information and support, they're better able to help their kids.'

'Everyone reacts differently to trauma, but there are common ways to help ourselves and our loved ones - like getting good sleep and staying connected with friends and family. The booklet has some ideas for parents to try with their children, from infants to 25 year olds, to assist with their recovery.'

The easy-to-read booklet provides practical advice for parents to help their children, and themselves, recover. The advice can be applied to any traumatic event that young people might experience, not just natural disasters.

Available for interview:

Michael Raper. Director of Red Cross Services and International Operations. Michael plays a critical role in leading the delivery of Red Cross programs and services, including the preparation for, response to, and recovery from emergencies throughout Australia and internationally.

Bronwyn Tarrant. Adolescent trauma psychotherapist whose work covers trauma and crisis recovery.

Lesley Bebbington. Mother whose community was affected by the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Lesley started a youth group to support young people affected by the fires, which began with 11 members. Now, two years after the fires, the recovery process continues. The group has evolved into a support resource for parents too, and has 100 members.

Media contacts:

For more information or to arrange an interview contact media adviser Katie Isaac on 0408 858 255.