How to cope with the trauma of Humboldt

Photo credit: CNN

Throughout Canada and around the world this week, we have felt deep sadness and loss following the tragic accident in Saskatchewan that saw 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team lose their lives.

While 15 people were killed, countless others were injured and an immeasurable number of people will be affected by this trauma, either directly or indirectly. As we have already seen through the outpouring of messages in the media and online, this event has affected a variety of demographics:

 

  • Survivors of past similar traumatic events
  • People who personally witnessed or were victims of the trauma
  • People who experience second-hand trauma from learning of their friends or family members’ experiences with the trauma
  • Re-traumatization from repeated exposure to the trauma in media

The side effects of these kinds of traumas can range from person to person and can include: flashbacks, heightened sense of fear, survivor guilt, etc. There are many ways you can cope with trauma after tragedy and terrorism, the main thing being to identify your feelings and understand they are a normal reaction to the circumstances.

We change our minds by putting feelings into words. Doing this develops important neural networks in the brain that help to integrate trauma. Understanding our feelings, tolerating our feelings, and being able to communicate them with significant people in our lives is often a culmination of all the steps of healing. — Kim Barthel from ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’

Here are some tips for coping with this trauma:

  • Remind yourself that you can and have overcome adversity
  • ‘Relentless positivity’ (as discussed in ‘Conversations with a Rattlesnake’)
  • Be realistic about your healing process and emotions, understand it takes time
  • Continue to do the things that you enjoy
  • Limit media or social media exposure
  • Understand you couldn’t have done anything to change what happened
  • Be kind to yourself, practice self-care

Perhaps most importantly, talk to people about your feelings and fears and remember it’s okay to ask for help. Great resources can be talking to a psychologist, finding a support group or simply speaking to a supportive friend who can listen.

Please note: if you are having trouble coping with recent tragedy or trauma, consider seeking help from a psychologist or other mental health professional. Psychologists and other licensed mental health professionals are trained to help people cope and take positive steps toward managing their feelings and behaviours.

If you’re interested in learning more about trauma and healing, read our blog. Continue this conversation about trauma, please connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

IN MEMORY of those who lost their lives: 

  • Logan Boulet, 21, of Lethbridge, Alta.
  • Adam Herold, 16, of Montmartre, Sask.
  • Logan Hunter, 18, of St. Albert, Alta.
  • Jaxon Joseph, 20, of Edmonton
  • Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt, Sask.
  • Conner Lukan, 21, of Slave Lake, Alta.
  • Logan Schatz, 20, of Allan, Sask.
  • Evan Thomas, 18, of Saskatoon
  • Parker Tobin, 18, of Stony Plain, Alta.
  • Stephen Wack, 21, of St. Albert, Alta.
  • Tyler Bieber, announcer, 29, of Humboldt, Sask.
  • Mark Cross, assistant coach, 27, of Strasbourg, Sask.
  • Darcy Haugan, head coach, 42, of Humboldt, Sask.
  • Brody Hinz, stats expert, 18, of Humboldt, Sask.
  • Glen Doerksen, bus driver, 59, of Carrot River, Sask.

 

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