Nabou accident: Ratu Navula students to undergo counselling

The Ministry of Education is understood to have contacted Empower Pacific for counsellors, who are expected to be sent to Ratu Navula College today. Picture: SUPPLIED

EXAMS have been put on hold at Ratu Navula College and students will undergo counselling in the wake of the Nabou tragedy last Saturday, which claimed the lives of six young men including one student and two former scholars.

Principal Setareki Merekula said he made the request after assessing the situation at the school yesterday.

“We requested for urgent counselling sessions to be done with our students after we saw that they were not in their normal state of mind,” he said.

“Today (yesterday) is also the first time the students have gotten together after the tragic accident on Saturday and there have been lots of rumours and talk going on about what had happened.

“We also had to cancel our term two exams which had started last week because we wanted students to undergo counselling first.

“They will resume exams once we are sure they are focused because right now they have been affected by the accident.”

The school observed a minute of silence during a school assembly yesterday to pay its respects to the Nabou victims who were part of a group of 16 travelling to Suva in support of the school’s under-18 rugby team that had made it to the Deans school rugby competition.

Four of the passengers are still admitted at the Lautoka Hospital while the rest were treated for injuries and sent home.

The chief executive officer of local counselling organisation Empower Pacific, Patrick Morgan, said those affected by the horrific crash at Nabou should contact the NGO if they experienced anxiety, nightmares or depression.

“We normally advise people to seek counselling within 24 hours of a traumatic event like the Nabou incident,” he said.

“Please call us on 5626 between the hours of 8am to 4.30pm and we can make arrangements for you to meet with a counsellor to help you through this.

“People won’t realise how much they have been affected until they begin to display post-traumatic symptoms.”

A clinical psychologist at Empower Pacific said people who were finding it difficult to sleep and having recurring nightmares or flashbacks should seek professional help.

He also said that family members should look out for those who had witnessed the accident and see how well they adapted to normal everyday activities.

The psychologist said if they showed signs of anxiety, depression or losing touch with reality then immediate counselling was recommended.

Mr Morgan said the Ministry of Education had contacted them yesterday and Empower Pacific was expecting to send counsellors to Ratu Navula College today.

(*Reporting on this story was also contributed by Felix Chaudhary)

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