Christchurch terrorist attack: Mental health concerns raised over alleged terrorist's video

Authorities are concerned about the effect of Friday's attack on the mental health of survivors, the families of victims, and New Zealanders struggling with the magnitude of the terror attack.

And it's not just the attack - the horrific video shot by the alleged terrorist is still out there causing trauma too.

"There are mental health incidents ongoing that I'm aware of," Health Minister Dr David Clark told media on Tuesday in Parliament. 

That's compounded by the alleged terrorist Brenton Tarrant's video spread online - Canterbury District Health Board confirming a number of people made contact to 1737 after seeing it. 

It's been auto-playing on social media feeds to people who are not seeking it out.

"I do think it would have an impact. You can't have something so graphic available and it not," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. 

"That is why it's so important that it is prioritised it's removed."

The horrific video has been constantly reported to organisations like non-profit Netsafe. Facebook itself said it removed the video 1.5 million times in the first 24 hours.

"And yet it persists," as Ardern put it. 

Asked if she's concern about children watching the video, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin said: "Oh, absolutely. I'm worried about anyone who has viewed this accidentally."

The Chief Censor has classified the video as objectionable material, and people who share it online could face 14 years in prison. 

But stopping it will be complex. 

"I'm tired of running behind the internet of these sorts of things. We need to get in front of it. This is about harm minimisation," Martin said. 

There have been 3000 calls through to the free mental health helpline 1737 since Friday. 

The Prime Minister has been taking every opportunity she can to remind people to make use of that number - to call 1737 if you are feeling overwhelmed or just need to talk.


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