Doctors, particularly general practitioners, have an important role to play in helping Australians deal with the anxiety, stress and fear generated by the recent Martin Place siege in Sydney, a leading psychiatrist has said in a podcast with the Medical Journal of Australia.
Professor Beverley Raphael, professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine at the Australian National University, said Australians, whether they were directly connected to the Sydney siege or not, could relate to the victims involved and therefore had responded strongly.
"People identify with suffering and loss, with threat and survival, with grief and anger - reflecting strengths as well as empathy", Professor Raphael wrote in an accompanying Perspective in today's MJA.
"For some, the experience of the siege will continue and reverberate; their distress may fluctuate or continue unabated."
"It is important for GPs responding to the needs of their patients to recognise patterns of distress, which may present in many ways, from insomnia, profound fatigue, anger, anxiety or depression to exacerbations of pre-existing mental or physical health problems."
The podcast with Professor Raphael is available at www.mja.com.au/multimedia/podcasts and from iTunes.