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Stress still a huge part of people’s lives in Christchurch

Stress still a huge part of people’s lives in Christchurch

The New Zealand Association of Counsellors says stress is actually increasing for many people living in parts of Christchurch, but the government is not doing nearly enough to help.

The NZAC says in fact, school counsellors in the area get more help from NZ Red Cross than the government.

Mike Coleman, NZAC member and counsellor at Middleton Grange School says the stress has increased rather than diminished.

“This is especially in schools in the east such as Aranui High, Linwood High, Avonside Girls and Catholic Cathedral College. Counsellors in the area say there is an increase in the levels of stress for students and an increase in panic attacks.”

NZAC School counselling portfolio holder Sarah Maindonald says caseloads for school counsellors in Christchurch have grown by up to a third since the earthquakes.

“Although we have had this big increase to our workload, we as school counsellors in Christchurch have had more resources offered from NZ Red Cross than our own government!” says Ms Maindonald.

Mr Coleman says he works with people fighting to get insurance claims honoured.

“I know there are still thousands struggling to have their policies honoured fairly. This creates enormous stress in the home. Financially people are battling as they pay for rates, insurance and other costs on their homes but also have to pay for rent on the places they are now living.”

Mr Coleman says he also knows of many teachers who had expected things to be coming right and getting back to normal by now but are still under severe stress.

“The difference in conditions between the eastern side of the city and the west is significant. The roads, homes and facilities on the east are very poor and there is a long way to go to get things right there. It is time these issues were sorted for these people who have been struggling for several years now in such dreadful conditions, with the recent floods in the area only making things worse.”

Ms Maindonald says stressed families mean stressed kids, which impacts hugely on learning.

The NZAC says while conditions are especially bad in Christchurch there is a need nationally for an urgent increase in the number of school counsellors available for students.

ENDS

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