Fred Schubert, sfo, Saint Francis of Assisi Fraternity, Ottawa, sent us a note including 10 helpful tips from a Trauma Therapist colleague of his in Ottawa to help cope with a collective trauma event.
"What always remains our first response to such tragic violence and killing is prayer. Let us be committed to on-going prayer first and throughout this sad time... "As the tragedy of the shootings and terror unfold in Ottawa, we as a community in Canada, must come together to help each other process this information. Our identity as welcoming peaceful Canadians may be challenged in the coming days as the political decisions of our leaders are called into question. We cannot allow the acts of the few to blur our strength as Canadians and citizens as we seek to find a place to lay blame. The blame lays solely with the perpetrators of this terrible act. We will worry it around in our minds because there is nowhere to file it in the memory banks. It is relatively unheard of to have random acts of terror unfold in our country. We may fear for our personal safety; especially for those of us that live and work in the vicinity of Parliament Hill."
Manage your feelings faced with Collective Trauma
Refrain from racial or religious generalizations that foster hate and fear.
Talk openly to friends and family and co-workers about how you feel when there is an opportunity.
Remember that somewhere in your past you have managed fear and anger before and you will get through this with your usual coping skills.
If you require help coping with your reaction to these events seek counsel from mental health care professionals, clergy and your support system.
Do not be ashamed if you are affected deeply by these events. We all are.
Do not be ashamed if you are affected for some time by these events. Trauma is in the eye of the beholder and no two reactions will be the same.
Refrain from over exposure to footage of the events as this may create future visual or audible triggers to stress reactions in the coming days.
Take the necessary steps to ensure that you feel safe in your community.
Count your blessings so you remain hopeful about your future.
Be aware of any changes in your life as a result of experiencing this collective community trauma and seek help if necessary.
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Andrew Conradi ofs