The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) commends the thoroughness of the Coroner’s inquest into the deaths arising from the Lindt café siege and looks forward to working with the NSW Police, where required, to implement the Coroner’s recommendations.
“The RANZCP is keen to work collaboratively to improve the processes and the roles whereby psychiatrists and other mental health advisers are called on to assist in circumstances such as the Lindt siege,” the President of the RANZCP, Dr Kym Jenkins said.
The RANZCP accepts the Coroner’s recommendations relating to the role of mental health advisers as indicated in both:
Recommendation 16 – that the NSWPF develop a comprehensive policy that describes the role and function of a psychological adviser engaged to assist in responses to high-risk situations.
Recommendation 17 – that the NSWPF consider expanding the panel of psychological advisers.
“The RANZCP would be very interested in assisting the NSW police to establish a panel of psychological advisers,” Dr Jenkins said.
The RANZCP cautions that the Coroner’s report, and subsequent wide media coverage, has the potential to intensify the grief and anguish experienced by the victims of the siege including their families, friends and colleagues of the two victims who died.
The Chair of the NSW Branch of the RANZCP, Dr Gary Galambos, said it was important that we all keep in mind the emotional pain and distress that everyone involved in this tragic case would be experiencing.
“We encourage people who are experiencing significant distress, and have not already sought mental health support, to do so,” he said. “That includes the police, advisors and bystanders traumatised by the tragic events of that day.”
“We must remember that everyone was trying to do their best during the siege and that all the services involved will, no doubt, consider very seriously the findings from this exhaustive coronial inquest,” Dr Galambos said.
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The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists is a membership organisation that prepares medical specialists in the field of psychiatry, supports and enhances clinical practice, advocates for people affected by mental illness and advises governments on mental health care. For information about our work, our members or our history, visit www.ranzcp.org.