Let's support each other

Let's support each other

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie recently released a commentary, published in the Adelaide Hills Weekender Herald, calling on the community to support each other during the COVID-19 pandemic and to give special consideration to young people struggling in this time of upheaval.

If you, your child or grandchild is feeling overwhelmed you can contact the following organisations for support:

  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  • Headspace 1800 063 267

The image below is a scanned copy of the column. 

"My eldest son was just a toddler on 11 September 2001.

In just weeks he would become a big brother.

In readiness for the huge change, Edward received a special wooden train set from his grandparents.

Heavily pregnant and struggling to move, this provided a bit of respite for me as well.

The train set occupied hours of Edward’s time. The track weaved under the coffee table and around the chairs, new designs and landscapes were made daily.

Edward loved trains and planes. When we were out we would stop and count the carriages of trains passing by.

Sometimes I would take him to the airport so he could watch them land and take off.

His face would be glued to the glass for hours, in awe of the majestic machines.

Like most households, the television was on in the background during 11 September 2001.

I was particularly anxious to hear news from my family in the United States. One of the planes went down perilously close to my family. 

The weeks went by and life eventually returned to normal.

A new normal for all of us, as we lived with increased security, a new vigilance and recognition that terrorism was an ever-present threat in our lives.

Several months later, when out pushing the pram with my new baby, I realised that my cheeky little two-year-old who loved trains and planes was traumatised by the September 11 tragedy. 

As a plane flew above us in the clear blue-sky, Edward screamed and hid under my dress.

This was his reaction to planes flying above for several months.

I realised that while I thought he was busy with his new train set, the vision of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, deeply affected him. 

As a mum I felt so guilty. I felt that I had failed to protect him.

From that moment on I made a conscious effort to think about exposure to traumatic events, and the effects this may have, and to do all I can to provide a level of protection and support.

We now find ourselves in a new, scarier version of September 11.

It is a time of fear and trauma for all of us. Our world has changed as we know it and it is continuing to change daily.

 

We are not yet through this time of crisis but, someday, the fear will be replaced again with happiness.

In the meantime, we must do what we can though to minimise the vicarious trauma felt by children and young people through this time.

Now I have a noisy home of young people. Loud music blasts from bedrooms, constant activity buzzing from all corners of the house.

Even though they are no longer young children, with my husband, we are making a conscious effort to ensure we sit together at the table each night with no background noise and talk about at least one good thing each that happened to us that day. 

We are honest with our feelings, debrief about the world around us and support each other. 

There are a range of supports for children and young people as we live through this traumatic time together."

By Rebekha Sharkie

Federal Member for Mayo

If you, your child or grandchild is feeling overwhelmed you can contact the following organisations for support:

  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Lifeline 13 11 14
  • Beyond Blue 1300 224 636
  • Headspace 1800 063 267