Coping with crisis: After tragic events

On Friday, April 6, 2018, a tragic bus accident resulted in multiple deaths and injuries to the Humboldt Broncos hockey team as they were travelling to Nipawin, Saskatchewan, for a playoff game.

The Canadian Red Cross offers our deepest condolences to everyone who is affected by this event. We are on the ground on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, providing comfort and support to family members, friends, and the community.

The impact of this tragedy will be felt for a long time, and the Canadian Red Cross will be there to continue helping those who are affected.

These events are unexpected, and upsetting for everyone involved. It is common to feel helpless, confused, angry, or worried. It is difficult to understand why things like this happen, or what it means for the future. In times like this, it is important for people to connect with each other, and support one another.

Here are some tips:
  • Events like this can cause feelings of uncertainty, frustration and anxiety – these feelings are expected.
  • Be patient with yourself and those close to you – it takes time to manage feelings.
  • Avoid isolation. Spend time with family and friends, offer your support. Hug one another and listen.
  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water, and get enough rest.
  • Encourage your child/children to talk about their feelings. Listen to them. Admit what you also are feeling sad, afraid, worried, but that you are there to work through it together.
  • Provide reassurance to your children that the family is safe. Repeat this as often as possible! Keep close to them and hold them. Touch provides extra reassurance that someone is there for them.
  • Provide children with age-appropriate but factual information about what happened.
  • Watch for signs of stress in your family, friends, and children. Get help from others if it is needed.
  • If you continue to feel overwhelmed, can’t shake the feelings of despair, or have anxiety, panic, depression, persistent bad dreams, seek help through your healthcare provider, family, or community organization. Asking for help is a sign of strength.
What to say to people grieving:
  1. Saying nothing, just be present with the person
  2. I am so sorry
  3. I heard that your_____ died (acknowledging the loss)
  4. I wish I had the right words, just know I care
  5. I don’t know how you feel, but I am here to support in any way I can
  6. Tell me what I can do for you right now
  7. I can’t imagine what you are going through
  8. You will be in my thoughts
  9. May I give you a hug? Or Can I make you some tea? (instead of saying something)
  10. We all need support at times like this, don’t be afraid to reach out.
The worst things to say to someone in grief:
  1. It will be okay
  2. He is in a better place
  3. There is a reason for everything/All things happen for a reason
  4. I know how you feel
  5. He did what he came here to do and it was his time to go
  6. Be strong
  7. Your loss is like my ... [insert story that you think relates]
  8. Statements that begin with "You should" or "You will."
Learn more about Coping with Crisis, and tips for helping children during times of crisis.

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