A FRONT LINE emergency volunteer has urged everyone affected by Monday morning's fatal Bendigo car crash to seek support, including the "exceptional" bystanders who came to three teenagers' aid.
SES volunteer Natalie Stanway helped coordinate her crew's response to the crash, which left a 16-year-old dead, another in a critical condition and a third in police custody at Bendigo hospital.
It is one of two fatal crashes she has been involved in this year where bystanders helped those injured at the scene.
Ms Stanway urged people to seek out support services, regardless of whether they helped on Monday morning, drove past in the hours afterwards or knew someone involved in the crash.
"You need to understand that this will have an effect on you. For some people, that impact will be a blip, for others it will be a massive turning point," she said.
Even if bystanders can not help save a life, their actions are always of great comfort, Ms Stanway said.
"I have been in situations where (someone has died) and we were able to tell someone's family member they were not alone, and at the very least a person held their hand and told them that they were loved," she said.
Ms Stanway emphasised that there is never any judgement of those who witness a crash but cannot help, for whatever reason.
Unlike emergency service personnel, witnesses will often not have an idea of what to expect when a crash occurs, Ms Stanway said.
"When you are a member of the public and you come across an incident like this - either because you are driving past, it happens in front of your home or whatever the circumstances - you are not expecting it," she said.
"You are faced with a very immediate scenario that you need to react to."
Ms Stanway is a volunteer speaker with Road Trauma Support Services Victoria, a counselling service for those affected by crashes.
She urged anyone who witnessed a collision to call the service and speak with a road trauma counsellor regardless of any role they played when impacted by a crash.
"It's a free service and these counsellors have no limit on how many times they can be contacted. They will help you, whether you are a friend, a relative, a colleague or who passed the event," Ms Stanway said.
Road Trauma Support Services can be reached during office hours on 1300 367 797 or at www.rtssv.org.au
Lifeline's 24-hour service can be reached at 13 11 14 or at www.lifeline.org.au
Kids Helpline can be reached at 1800 55 1800 or through web chats at www.kidshelpline.com.au
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