Term 1, Issue 4: Wellbeing | Siena College
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Dealing With Distressing News Items

The daily news has been filled with images and reports of extreme hardship and distress for many in Australia and around the world, particularly in the Ukraine. Being exposed to the impact of natural disasters and war indirectly through the media, stirs up various feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and frustration. Whilst many communities and families around Australia have been affected by the recent floods in NSW and Queensland, with many still coming to terms with what has happened, others are rallying together to provide much needed moral and financial support.

How well young people cope or manage any trauma, will depend on specific risk factors in existence before, during and after the event. It is vital to talk and listen to them, so as to help them process their feelings in response to what they are seeing and hearing.

Parents need to remain vigilant in monitoring their children during this time and check in with them regularly. They may be distressed by images they have seen, either physically or through social media and news reports. Young people may exhibit or experience a wide range of emotions, and it is therefore important to reassure them that what they are feeling is considered normal.

This Special Report offers a number of strategies to help support families at this time. If this raises any concerns for you, a loved one or the wellbeing of your child, please seek medical or professional help. Here is the link to your Special Report.


Around the world, people are saddened and devastated by the events unfolding in Ukraine. Both adults and young people alike are feeling the stresses of war from afar as they experience fear, frustration and helplessness. The twenty-four hour news cycle has shown us upsetting images which is causing our young people to raise many questions about what is happening.

Parents need to be guided by their child’s curiosity. There is strong evidence to suggest that having a supportive discussion about a stressful event in a developmentally appropriate way, can actually reduce distress. It is best to 'name it to tame it'. This will also combat any misinformation that they may have been exposed to, via social media, pictures or video clips.

Children need to know that they are being taken seriously and it is recommended that you do not avoid the difficult questions. Ensure you address their questions honestly and sensitively. With less life experience than adults, young people may need help navigating news about the Ukraine crisis. Use this is as an opportunity to model and encourage compassionate views towards fellow humans, regardless of geographical distance or circumstances.

This extra Special Report offers guidance on how best to discuss the conflict in Ukraine. We hope that you are able to take some time to reflect on the information offered.

Here is the link to your Special Report about discussing the Ukraine war with your child.

It is also beneficial to remind young people about all the good in the world, even though images and stories about this can be difficult to find. Looking closer to home may help, as well as listing all the things which we are grateful for in our lives.

Antonella Rosati

Deputy Principal Wellbeing and Strategy
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