Counselling for front-line Christchurch responders could continue into 2020

Counselling and psychological services could continue to be offered to the front-line responders to the Christchurch terrorist attack for months, or years to come.

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Both police and St John say there’s no timeframe on how long support will be offered to their staff. Source: 1 NEWS

About three months on from the incident, Police and St John both say they have undertaken widespread counselling for their staff, and that they will have as much of it as they need.

Many are still needing hours of psychological help, as well as time off from their regular hours.

Police's Canterbury Metro Area Commander Superintendent Lane Todd said as well as counselling, maintaining a good work life balance had been stressed as being more important to staff, especially spending time with friends and family.

"We've had an impact on our front line teams that were in operation on the day, there's also our secondary people - people like our typists, our photographers, our scene of crime and obviously our investigators," Mr Todd said.

St John Psychologist Adele Saunders said they are anticipating that the counselling of their staff could take anywhere up to 18 months, if not longer.

"Given the nature of the work that our teams are engaged in on a daily basis, they're exposed to distressing adverse events ... we know that this might be several years," she said.

Police said they have had counsellors working with their staff since 24 hours after the attack.

St John staff are also being checked in on regularly to make sure they are taking care of themselves and are encouraged to seek support if they look to be struggling.