Do you feel it? That weight that seems to hang in the air around Westwood?
The tragic events of late July have touched us all. Here, a month later, many still ache for the Gibson family, still struggle to come to terms with memories of the unfolding story, the shock, the heartache, and the mental images of news reports or of police searching our yards and sheds.
Feelings of anxiousness, vulnerability and suspicion rippled across our community. For those away when everything happened, it must seem surreal, beyond belief even. Westwood has been traumatized.
At a Community Resource Evening at the KW Community Centre July 31, staff and volunteers from social services agencies came together to offer support to Westwood citizens. One pamphlet I picked up describes trauma as ‘a normal reaction to abnormal events’ from which feelings of grief, shame, despair or hopelessness can arise.
These emotions, compounded with daily stresses, can be overwhelming. For some people, recent events may trigger pain from the past. Others will suppress their emotions and risk a breakdown weeks or months from now. Trauma happens one way or another to us all, but we can overcome. The Manitoba Trauma Information and Education Centre’s website at www.trauma-informed.ca is full of valuable information about trauma and its effects.
Social Worker Cindy Willette and Constable Linda Parsons of the Winnipeg Police Victim Services Section helped facilitate the KW support session. It is human nature, they say, to feel helpless and to withdraw following a tragedy. Everyone deals with stress differently, but healing happens best when we open up and connect with each other.
If you’ve been feeling lost, sad or numb, chances are someone else has too — talking about it is healthy. Some of us cope by stifling emotion and suffering in silence. Now more than ever, we need to open up, to be true to ourselves and our well-being, to build hope, balance and resiliency.
Klinic Community Health Centre and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority offer tools for emotional and mental wellness on the phone, in person, or online. Peace of mind may be only a click or a call away. You can reach Klinic’s general information line at 204-784-4090, the crisis line at 204-786-8686, or you can go online at: www.klinic.mb.ca
WRHA’s St. James Health and Social Services Centre is located at 2015 Portage Avenue and can be reached at 204-940-2389 or online at www.wrha.mb.ca
If you are worried about someone, reach out. Calling to ask ‘how are you?’ is not prying, it’s a kindness. Asking the same question while looking in the mirror is important too… Take care!