Grieving Support Following Nova Scotia Mass Shooting to Be Coordinated by Local Non-Profit Group

Truro, Nova Scotia – After the tragic mass shooting in northern Nova Scotia nearly four years ago, the non-profit Nova Scotia Hospice Palliative Care Association (NSHPCA) is preparing to offer a new approach to bereavement services. The goal is to help individuals cope and heal from the aftermath of the devastating event that shook the entire province. This initiative aims to provide vital assistance to those affected by the tragic events of April 2020, in which 22 people lost their lives at the hands of a gunman.

The new approach is being developed in collaboration with community organizations and Nova Scotia Health, with a focus on delivering care in Colchester County, East Hants, and Cumberland County. The initiative is a response to the recommendations made by the Mass Casualty Commission, which led the public inquiry into the shooting, to address the unmet mental health, grief, and bereavement support needs of the affected residents.

An $18-million fund from the provincial and federal governments, announced last spring, will support the two-year, $2.3-million project. This project will initially be implemented in the northern region and is expected to extend to the rest of Nova Scotia by 2025. The NSHPCA hopes to approach mental health with trauma-based methods, recognizing that grief and trauma are individual experiences that require personalized support.

NSHPCA president Ann Cosgrove emphasized the importance of focusing on the long-term impact of the trauma experienced by individuals and communities affected by the mass shooting. The initiative aims to pull together both new and existing grief services and listen to the needs of the people. The province has also made investments in the northern region, including new positions at Nova Scotia Health and mobile health clinics to provide accessible support for those in need.

Addressing the challenges faced by the residents, Alana Hirtle of the Rotary Club of Truro expressed optimism about the new approach and its potential impact across the province. The tragic events of April 2020 have led to a shattered sense of identity for Nova Scotians. As the initiative unfolds, the hope is that it will provide essential tools to individuals and families dealing with grief and trauma, ultimately contributing to the healing of the entire province. The project’s eventual expansion across the province signals a beacon of hope for those who have been deeply affected by the tragic events. The need for support and healing in the aftermath of such a grievous tragedy is crucial, and this initiative is a step forward in addressing these pressing needs.