Whakaari Eruption

The information below has been adapted from Ministry of Health resources.  These resources have also been translated into other languages and are available to download here.


Taking care of yourself and your whānau

After a traumatic event, it is normal for people who were directly involved, or who had family and friends involved, or who were part of the response, or live in the community to feel distressed, and to experience symptoms of stress.

You may have trouble sleeping, feel tense or irritable, or find yourself having repeated thoughts of the event, or images of what you saw. You may also have physical stress symptoms such as being jumpy and easily startled, having headaches or pain from tense muscles, and feeling your heart pounding.

These kinds of feelings and symptoms are part of our normal reaction to a traumatic event, and for most people they pass over several days or weeks. You may find yourself fearing you are "going crazy" - this is also common, but remember these feelings pass with time


How to help yourself, your whānau and friends


  • Spend time in places that feel safe and comfortable as much as possible.
  • Tell yourself that how you are feeling is a normal reaction and will pass - it is nothing to be afraid of.



  • Talk about details of the traumatic event repeatedly.

This has been shown to increase distress and delay recovery. Talking about feelings is helpful, but avoid repeatedly talking about what happened, of the detail of the event, what you saw, and so on.

  • Constantly watch media coverage of the event

Being constantly reminded of the event is not helpful and can increase distress. Turn off Facebook, and watch the news only to the degree you normally would. If watching even normal news is distressing, turn the news off and do something relaxing or enjoyable instead.

  • Make major life decisions.

These are best not made at a time of distress - avoid making big decisions until you have recovered.


Seek Support

If your distress or stress symptoms are escalating, or you feel you are not coping, or you notice this in others, support is available. Early access to help and professional support is important.

  • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor, any time.
  • Consult your GP. Your doctor is there to help you with your mental health as well as your physical health. They know you and can provide advice on what may be helpful for you and refer you onto counselling if needed.
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 free text 4357 (HELP).
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666.
  • In CRISIS? BOPDHB Mental Health Crisis Team Tauranga 0800 800 508, Eastern Bay 0800 774 545.
  • Call Māori Health Services, Whakatāne Hospital on 306 0954 for information on Kaupapa Māori support providers in the Eastern Bay of Plenty.
  • Helplines for children and young people
    • Need to talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to talk to a trained counsellor.
    • To talk to a trained counsellor 24/7 call the Depression helpline - 0800 111 757.
    • To get help from a registered nurse 24/7 call Healthline - 0800 611 116.
    • Youthline - 0800 376 633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat.
    • What's Up  - 0800 942 8787, (for 5-18 year olds). Phone counselling is available Monday to Friday, 1pm-10pm and weekends, 3pm-10pm. Online chat is available 7pm-10pm daily.


Related information

Post - traumatic stress disorder











Last updated: February 13, 2020