Men’s group to tackle post-quake stress

Kaikoura Star - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - PIPPA BROWN

Two Kaiko¯ura men are start­ing up a free sup­port group to help other males deal with stress af­ter the earth­quake.

Kaiko¯ura Health Cen­tre so­cial worker and coun­sel­lor Si­mon Gor­don said the Novem­ber earth­quake brought many changes to peo­ple’s lives and these were hav­ing a big im­pact on men, many who were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to deal with life af­ter the quake.

‘‘The pres­sures on men are huge and men find it hard to cope with strong emo­tions.’’

‘‘Men feel the re­spon­si­bil­ity of pro­vid­ing fi­nan­cially for the fam­ily in a lot of cases and they are find­ing it dif­fi­cult to reach out and find sup­port,’’ he said.

Gor­don,who was brought up in Kaiko¯ura re­turned four months ago to take up the health cen­tre role. Vic­tor MacGill, a fa­cil­ity worker for Stop­ping Vi­o­lence Ser­vices - Liv­ing Safe, is also an ex­pe­ri­enced so­cial worker and coun­sel­lor.

They say they can help men work through some of the postquake is­sues within a male­friendly en­vi­ron­ment and help them with com­mu­ni­ca­tion and coping strate­gies.

‘‘As part of our ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing with men, Vic­tor and I un­der­stand and re­alise the dif­fi­cul­ties men face and can put our­selves in their po­si­tion.

‘‘The ex­tra stress on peo­ple’s lives can cre­ate re­la­tion­ship prob­lems, feel­ings of be­ing over­whelmed and peo­ple who can usu­ally cope start to find things bub­ble over,’’ said Gor­don.

‘‘Af­ter the earth­quake a lot of men changed their jobs and have been ex­pected to work be­yond nor­mal hours, as well as sup­port their own fam­ily which they are find­ing it hard to do with low en­ergy lev­els com­pli­cated by the pres­sure of work,’’ Gor­don said.

‘‘Many of their friends left town, and there is the con­tin­u­ing im­pact of drawn-out in­sur­ance claims, and liv­ing in dam­aged houses.

‘‘Un­set­tled chil­dren who are strug­gling to cope with the earth­quake it­self as well as liv­ing in an­tic­i­pa­tion and fear of an­other earth­quake are all adding stress to fam­i­lies and hav­ing an im­pact,’’ he said.

It’s an­tic­i­pated the group will start in early Novem­ber on Tues­day be­tween 6pm to 8pm.

Gor­don said men were wel­come to ring and talk with them now about what’s hap­pen­ing to help put some sta­bil­ity back into their lives.

‘‘When men are coping with dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions they are of­ten ex­pected to put on a brave face and keep it all to­gether.

‘‘Some­times these pres­sures can be­come a bit more than we can han­dle by our­selves,’’ said Gor­don.

The group is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Kaiko¯ura Health Care, SVS Liv­ing Safe and Kaiko¯ura Vi­o­lence Free Net­work. To reg­is­ter ring Vic­tor 027 510 9842 or Si­mon 027 503 6935.

PHOTO: PIPPA BROWN/ STUFF

Kaiko¯ura Health Cen­tre so­cial work­ers and coun­sel­lors Si­mon Gor­don, pic­tured, along with Vic­tor MacGill, are set­ting up a men’s sup­port group to help men deal with their post-quake stress.

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