Eric Ripper

Eric Ripper

Deputy Premier; Treasurer; Minister for State Development

    Government makes counselling available for tsunami victims

    31/12/2004 7:30 PM

    The Western Australian Government is making counselling and support services available for people affected by the South East Asian disaster.

    “The WA Government is committed to providing assistance not only to those in the countries devastated by the tsunami, but to those at home,” Acting Premier Eric Ripper said.

    The Government response included locating a mental health team at the Perth International Airport to help agencies such as Centrelink, Red Cross and Salvation Army staff support people returning from the tsunami-torn region.

    Earlier this week, the State Government donated $2million to the Australian Red Cross Tsunami appeal, provided a team of specialist medical staff and supplies as part of an Australia-wide effort and made available public hospital beds for Tsunami victims.

    “In addition, telephone counselling and website links are available through the Department of Health and the Department for Community Development,” Mr Ripper said.

    “In the aftermath of the tsunami, people affected will need the support of family and friends.

    “However, some may need extra support and may wish to seek professional help.”

    The Acting Premier said it was common for people to have a delayed reaction to a distressing event weeks, months or even years later.

    “It is important that people recognise when it is time to ask for help,” he said.

    Warning signs and symptoms to look out for include:
    • disturbed sleep;
    • frequent or ongoing feelings of distress, irritability, or agitation;
    • feeling hopeless, despairing, or miserable;
    • difficulty in concentration, getting distracted and unable to go about your usual tasks; and
    • physical symptoms of stress such as breathing difficulties, heart and stomach problems.
    Mr Ripper said the emotional and mental impact on children should not be overlooked as adults tried to cope with the tsunami aftermath.

    WA Government support and information is available through:Minister's office: 9222 9475