Dr Rob Gordon - disaster psychologist

Notes from Dr Gordon’s session at Cheviot, 15 March 2017

Dr Gordon has been involved in disaster psychology for many years, from the bush fires in Australia through to the earthquakes in Christchurch and lately North Canterbury. He has identified some common issues that crop up in the recovery period no matter what the disaster is. Everyone is different, but our bio-systems are the same.

Sometimes the effects of the long periods of stress or trauma are not apparent until four or five years later. He has had patients who come to him four or five year’s after they have been an emergency because they can’t concentrate, they are not confident, they don’t enjoy doing things like they used to and have not retained that ability to enjoy their lives. His advice is to tune into these symptoms earlier and seek help.

When disasters strike, there are natural processes which enable us to survive, but these can come at a cost. Finding the balance between the stress agenda and holding on to what is important to us is difficult.

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Post-Quake support

A few things to remember:

  • It’s ok to ask for help.
  • Stay in the present
  • Count the good stuff in your life.
  • Acknowledge how you feel.
  • Keep connected to family, friends and others in your community.

There are also some websites that may be helpful.
www.skylight.co.nz – this has family resources for children.
www.calm.com and www.headspace.com for mindfulness meditation.
Canterbury Earthquake support phone line  0800 777 846 is available 24/7 and have people skilled at supporting you.


Community Ownership

  • The Amuri Community Health Centre is 100% owned by the ‘Amuri Community Trust’ a not for profit organisation.
  • Community ownership allows us to provide the best care in an ever changing environment and to attract the best health professionals.
  • The charitable status of the Health Centre also allows us to seek funds which would not have been open to us under a traditional model.

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Amuri Health reception area

Our building allows us to fit in with the Government's Primary Health Care Strategy of an integrated Health Centre, focusing on prevention rather than cure and keeping patients out of hospital.
Amuri Community Health Centre is a Cornerstone accredited practice having met the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners standard for GP services as defined in 'aiming for excellence'.

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