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Dealing With Tragedy in the News

High profile trauma can have wide-ranging effects on individuals. This information describes common reactions, and provides suggestions on how to take care of yourself, supporting a loved one or peer, and links to additional resources.

Dealing With Tragedy in the News

Common Reactions


Common Reactions: These can vary over time, however over the next couple of days or weeks, some of the symptoms you may experience are:

  • Numbness or difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness or irritability
  • Anxiety, worry, or panic
  • Hyper-vigilance or jumpiness
  • Fatigue or social withdrawal
  • Feeling vulnerable or unsafe
  • Disturbing images or memories
  • Sadness or guilt
  • For more information about grief and loss, click HERE.

How to Take Care of Yourself

  • Own your reaction. Whether you knew a victim, or had no direct relationship to those involved, you have a right to your own response. It is normal that your reaction can be intensified if you are already dealing with grief, loss, life transition, or past trauma in your life.
  • Talk to someone who feels safe to you about your thoughts and feelings.
  • Invest in activities that build you up. Be good to yourself, spend time engaging in activities that promote positivity and calm in your life.
  • Moderate your news. While some information can be helpful, recognizing when it has become too much for you to handle is important.
  • Give yourself time to recover. Added stress can make it difficult to handle your normal workload and daily tasks. Be patient with yourself, and speak to your instructor about balancing your responsibilities.
  • Hit pause. Do not make any big life decisions or commitments while you are dealing with trauma. Give yourself time, and focus instead on contributing to activities that restore balance and wellbeing into your life.
  • Reach out. If you find that your stress is interfering with your activities of daily life, or your normal coping strategies for stress are not making things better, reach out for additional professional supports.

Supporting a Peer or Loved One

  • Understand that everyone has the right to react in their own way.
  • Be patient if your peers, classmates, or colleagues seem a little ‘off’.
  • Promote calm and connection. Do not under-estimate the power of small acts of kindness; it is often the small things that show people they are valued and supported.
  • Be compassionate with those who are affected. Highly publicized tragedies can trigger personal histories of loss, grief, or trauma.
  • Seek support. If you are reading this and recognize that you are, or someone you know is, feeling the weight of this tragedy, reach out for support from a trusted friend, family member, spiritual leader, elder, or professional.

Resources for Students


Counselling Services are available. If you would like to talk to a counsellor, call (780) 751-3222 or 1-866-652-3456 (toll-free). Phone, Skype or drop-in appointments may be available. If you need to speak with a counsellor after hours, please contact the Alberta Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

Resources for Staff


Life Works Employee Assistance Plan is available for wellness resources and counselling support. You can contact them at 1-877-207-8833 or visit for additional information. Please contact Human Resources for your user ID and password.

If personal supports are unavailable and you are experiencing distress, you can reach the following 24/7 help-lines from any College phone.

  • Alberta Mental Health Help Line 1-877-303-2642
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Hotline 1-855-242-3310
  • Canada Suicide Prevention Service 1-833-456-4566
  • 9-1-1

Click HERE for additional After-Hours and Crisis Supports.