Red Cross help for stressed youth

Last updated 05:00 31/10/2012

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A website designed to help young people deal with the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes has been launched by the Red Cross.

The site, Address the Stress, aims to give Canterbury teenagers the coping skills to get them through uncertain times.

Red Cross chief executive John Ware believed they had identified a gap on the internet for "young people affected by the earthquakes accessing trauma recovery resources".

The target audience for the website was an estimated 77,000 people aged 12 to 25 years in the Waimakariri, Christchurch and Selwyn districts.

Ware said the website would reassure young people that what they were feeling was normal.

"Our concept is to provide information for youth affected by the earthquakes with the aim of reducing anxiety and reminding people of their social connections with appropriate forms of advice and information. There is nothing similar in the digital landscape at this time," he said.

"Overseas research, in particular from the 2009 Australian bushfires, shows the third year after a disaster is often the hardest."

The website, which features video messages from some of New Zealand's top celebrities, had had massive support from many high-profile people, including All Black Dan Carter and Olympic gold medallist Mahe Drysdale.

Experts already working with Canterbury youth also give advice on the website and young people living in Canterbury talk about their own experiences.

Ware said while Address the Stress was designed for the quakes, the advice on it could be applied to any natural disaster.

"This is a responsive site where young people can leave advice for their peers on how to cope with tough times and see what music choices celebrities use to help them get through," he said.

The site had been clinically reviewed by three psychologists and Youthline would help moderate it.

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