Christchurch mosque attacks: Witness urges more mental health support

CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MARCH 18: A police officer stands guard near Al Noor mosque on March 18, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. 50 people were killed, and dozens are still injured in hospital after a gunman opened fire on two Christchurch mosques on Friday, 15 March. The accused attacker, 28-year-old Australian, Brenton Tarrant, has been charged with murder and remanded in custody until April 5. The attack is the worst mass shooting in New Zealand's history. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Photo credit: Getty Images

By Anan Zaki for RNZ

A witness to the Christchurch terror attack is calling on the government to listen to their pleas, and fears lives could be lost if mental health support isn't adequately provided.

Nathan Smith was inside Masjid An-Nur when the shooting started on 15 March 2019.

Fifty-one lives were lost in the terrorist attack - the country's worst mass shooting - committed by an Australian white supremacist.

Smith says he has, as a first-hand witness, struggled with the trauma since the attack and mental health support has been nearly non-existent.

His first counselling session was with a temporary counsellor who returned home to Australia, and he had to seek out his own counselling when the following appointments were cancelled.

ACC's mental health support policy is that help is only given if a mental injury is caused by a physical injury.


Watch the interview with Smith here. Warning: Parts of it could be distressing for some viewers.

Where to find help and support: