‘Safety shattered’: N.S. mass shooting inquiry hears about impact on mental health



The federal-provincial inquiry investigating the 2020 mass homicide in Nova Scotia heard Tuesday from consultants who talked concerning the tragedy’s affect on the psychological well being of Nova Scotians and lingering emotions of loss, anger and frustration.

“And it is affecting individuals throughout the nation, however Nova Scotia most of all,” mentioned Cheryl Myers, head of the Alongside the Shore Group Well being Board. She mentioned about 8,200 individuals reside within the space the place the rampage occurred, and they’re struggling to rebuild assist programs after shedding 22 of their neighbours.

“Who do you belief now? How do you progress on from this? When the cellphone rings at evening, what do you do?” she requested.

She mentioned native college students are reporting issue with sleeping, consuming and coping typically.

Katherine Hay, CEO of Children Assist Telephone, mentioned calls to the mental-health service doubled throughout Nova Scotia within the hours after the capturing stopped. For months afterwards, one-third of the calls from the province had been about emotions of grief and loss that had been compounded by pandemic lockdowns, she mentioned.

“We noticed that ripple proper throughout the nation,” Hay mentioned.

Robin Cann, a non-public observe therapist in Nova Scotia’s Cumberland County, mentioned rural Nova Scotia has had its sense of security badly shaken.

“This actually has been shifted,” she informed the inquiry, including that native residents have taken to locking their doorways, one thing they by no means did earlier than. “What individuals are describing is elevated vigilance and a way of unease.”

Susan Henderson, government director of the Colchester chapter of the Canadian Psychological Well being Affiliation, agreed that emotions of security had been shattered. “Individuals actually retreated to their properties and mentioned, ‘Now what will we do?”‘ Henderson mentioned.

The inquiry, which is impartial of the federal government, has the ability to name witnesses and to subpoena paperwork.

Its objective is to collect info to raised perceive the causes and penalties of what occurred on April 18-19, 2020, when a lone gunman disguised as a Mountie killed 22 individuals, together with a pregnant girl, in northern and central Nova Scotia.

The three commissioners main the inquiry harassed Tuesday {that a} public inquiry just isn’t the identical as a trial. It isn’t an adversarial course of and it can’t make findings of legal or civil legal responsibility.

The inquiry is anticipated to supply an interim report in Could and a remaining, non-binding report in November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Feb. 22, 2022.


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