It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to help your children heal from the loss of a parent. Sadly, many families deal with complex and traumatic situations, and it is both adults and children who are profoundly impacted.
Access to the right kind of services and support can make all the difference in a family’s recovery.
Unfortunately, mental health services in Australian country communities remain incredibly scarce, even as demand continues to grow.
Josh recalls. “There’s nothing that can prepare you for that kind of situation. The weeks after the accident are just one big blur in my mind. It was like we’d been hit with a wrecking ball, and everything just stopped. But eventually I could’t afford to be off work any longer. Lucy loved her teacher which really helped her transition back, but it was Dan who struggled to return to any kind of normality.”
But in the months following Amber’s death, Daniel’s behaviour started to change. He became incredibly anxious and started to worry about the tiniest of things – a bug landing on him, a glass of water being tipped over, a door blowing shut…
Everything was a potential catastrophe in his little eyes.
Daniel became incredibly clingy – refusing to let Josh out of his sight, At night, Josh and Daniel rarely got to sleep before midnight, as Daniel imagined the house burning down or being broken into. Josh had to get up multiple times in the night to check on Daniel’s sisters, to reassure him they were ok.
They were both exhausted. And to make matters worse, Daniel was due to start school in the new year.
Whilst Josh was optimistic school would be a change of pace for him, Daniel’s anxiety went into overdrive, preventing him from settling into the classroom or making friends. Despite his teacher using a range of strategies to help him, Daniel rarely joined in during lessons.
It was clear Daniel needed help, and so did Josh. Visiting their local GP was a major turning point.