We are approaching the one-year anniversary of one of Canada’s deadliest mass murders.
On April 18 and 19, 2020, a gunman dressed as an RCMP officer went on a murderous rampage in rural Nova Scotia, leaving 22 people dead.
The gunman was shot and killed by police 13 hours after starting the rampage in Portapique, but the grief that’s been left behind is widespread.
“The whole of Nova Scotia was shattered by it,” said Susan Marsh, the executive director of the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia.
Last April, as the province tried to find ways to grieve during the pandemic, over a dozen psychologists with expertise with trauma and distress offered up their services for free to help take care of people’s mental health.
As we near the one-year anniversary, 10 psychologists are once again offering up their services to help people cope.
“It brings it all back to people,” Marsh said about anniversaries.
“It happens with birthdays, it happens with all sorts of anniversaries that the good things come back, and that’s great, but bad things come back, too, when bad things happen.”
Anyone who finds their mental health is being impacted by the mass murder will have access to up to three phone or video sessions with a psychologist.
Individuals are asked to call 902-422-9183 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday to Friday to arrange an appointment.
Sessions will be available between April 5 and May 7.
“Sometimes it takes a long while to realize you need help,” said Marsh.
“Advertising this kind of service may help people come to realize they are struggling when they didn’t even know it.”
In addition to the free sessions with a psychologist being offered next month, at any time Nova Scotians can self-refer to the Community Mental Health and Addictions clinics, Withdrawal Management Services or Opioid Replacement and Treatment Program.
The Provincial Mental Health Crisis Line is also available 24/7 for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Calls can be made toll-free at 1-888-429-8167.