Neighbourhood reels from ‘ripple effect’ of deaths
PSYCHOLOGISTS are urging those who have been affected by the tragedy in Camp Hill yesterday to seek help, with the news causing a 'ripple effect of horror' through the community.
Three young children yesterday died and their mother was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after an explosive car fire.
The children's father, who also died, deliberately set the car on fire after dousing the children's mother in petrol.
Griffith University psychology professor Sharon Dawe said it was important for members of the community to respect the different processes of grieving and coping with horrific events.
"These kinds of events are extraordinarily distressing, and there is no way you can make them better or make them less distressing but for some people a natural recovery process may include not talking about the event and not feeling like they need to reach out to other people but in fact for the memory and emotion to fade," she said.
"But for other people witnessing such events may leave them in a state of high distress but it doesn't seem to fade and for those people it may well be appropriate to reach out and talk to counsellors or psychologists.
"My advice to parents is that children should be protected from some news items and that they cause unnecessary distress.
"These sorts of events have a ripple effect of horror so it's the immediate family that will be most affected but (also) the children who are classmates and the teachers who deal with the children. We need to think about the way we can all support each other through connectedness."
Bond University psychologist Dr Peta Stapleton advised people to visit the Australian Psychological Society for help.
"It can be devastating for people to hear news when children die especially if was out of their control and perhaps caused by adults, and they didn't get to live their full life expected," she said.
"People have emotional responses due to these thoughts - the most important thing for the community is to watch their own emotions, and behaviour.
"For example if you find you keep googling the story or watching it online, then it may be affecting you and you need to ask why, especially if you didn't know the family at all - seek support if needed and if sleep and emotions continue to be affected."
Hannah Baxter's sister-in-law has started a fundraiser to cover funeral costs. You can donate here.