© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Hundreds access free counselling service

Antoinette Spicer

Hundreds of people have sought free counselling following the Christchurch terror attacks.

The Canterbury Charity Hospital set up a free counselling service following the March 15 attacks for anyone directly or indirectly affected.

Hospital founder Dr Phil Bagshaw said in the first week alone up to 130 people accessed the charity hospitals counselling services. This week 100 people have already accessed the service.

The Charity Hospital offered a similar service after the devastating February 2011 earthquake, assisting over 3500 people in six months.

The attack has re-triggered negative emotions for Christchurch residents, Bagshaw said.

“We were still counselling people from the earthquakes when the attacks happened. These events have effects which carry on for a long time.”

Those who are struggling with negative feelings, anxiety and distress need extra support, Bagshaw said.

“If their feelings become overwhelming, they need counselling, and they need it quickly,".

He said 40 trained counsellors and psychologists are available to counsel from the charity hospital.

People seeking free counselling can make an appointment by calling 03 360 2266 or emailing info@charityhospital.org.nz.