Happy to help

Jason Kerr
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SRPSD support services glad to provide assistance to grieving community

School social workers and psychologists from Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division (SRPSD) were busy lending a helping hand in La Roche on Jan. 24.

Saskatchewan Rivers Public School Division support staff (from left to right) Celeste Boran-Fetch, Darcy Sander, Trishia Hastings, Laura Nicholson, Courtney Wendelborg, Kaley Christianson, Laura McDonald and Matt McCaw recently made the trip to La Loche to provide any assistance to the grieving community that they could.

The eight-person team travelled to the northern community to provide support services for staff and students affected by the recent school shooting.

It was an eye-opening experience for the SRPSD staff members.

“We can’t begin to imagine what the staff and students and community members experienced,” SRPSD support services consultant Trishia Hastings said. “We were honoured to be able to help them begin the healing process in whatever way we could.”

Hastings and her team provided an outlet for La Loche residents who are going through the healing process.  She said it’s common for residents who’ve experienced something like this to be confused and shaken.  Ideally, the team hoped to see residents work through their grief and return to a normal life.

“We worked to help them debrief, give them some counseling, get their thoughts in order, and just begin talking,” Hastings explained.  “As I said, just to begin the healing process, how to feel safe (and) how to process those feelings that they would be having following a traumatic event.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however.  Hastings said most residents feel there’s been too much of a focus on the negative aspects of the community, and not enough on the positives.  In reality, the community has rallied together following the tragedy.

“Many people there have a strong sense of community, and pride in their community.  They want people to know that there’s a lot of positive things that happen there, because there’s a lot of attention towards the negative things.”

Even though the group was only there one day, Hastings said they were all happy with what was accomplished.  Healing doesn’t happen overnight, she explained, and SRPSD staff was just happy to provide whatever services they could.

“We were just glad to be able to help.  The help was needed, so it’s always nice to know you’re doing the right thing.”

@kerr_jas • jason.kerr@paherald.sk.ca

Geographic location: La Loche

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