20 January, 2016

There are many hidden casualties of the summer road toll who get neither media attention nor effective treatment, says Sarah Dean, Founder of the Road Traffic Accident Trauma Charitable Trust.

“The Ministry of Transport draws attention to the number of fatal and injury crashes and their victims, but this does not paint the full picture,” said Dean. “Research tells us that many individuals who survive a road crash will suffer psychological trauma, even if they have not been physically injured.”

Psychological injuries caused by traffic accidents include acute anxiety, panic attacks, severe apprehension about being in a vehicle, driving, or passing the scene of the accident and even more severe reactions such as Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, said Dean.

“Contrary to what many people think, psychological injuries that occur without physical injuries are not covered by ACC, even when they are very severe and disabling.”

The Road Traffic Trauma Charitable Trust (RTA Trauma Charitable Trust) was set up in 2009 specifically to secure effective treatment for these people.

“We have negotiated a Memorandum of Understanding with the Canterbury Charity Hospital to provide a free counselling service for anybody who is experiencing negative psychological effects as a result of being in a traffic accident. If you think you are affected in this way you can make a self-referral via their website www.charityhospital.org.nz,” said Dean.

The RTA Trauma Charitable Trust’s activities are focussed on public education about traffic accident-related psychological trauma and fundraising to support the counselling service provided by the Charity Hospital. For further information about the Trust, about psychological trauma following a traffic accident, or to make a donation, please contact www.roadtrafficaccidenttrust.org.nz.

To make a self referral, people can phone the Canterbury Charity Hospital on (03) 360-2266.