Shock after the Laval tragedy: “normal reactions to an abnormal event” | Tragedy in Laval
A woman gathers in front of the daycare center in the Sainte-Rose district, in Laval, where the tragedy occurred.
Children, parents, first aiders, educators, police officers… Many people witnessed the tragedy that occurred on Wednesday in the Sainte-Rose district, in Laval, when a man driving a; a bus rammed into a day care centre, killing two children and injuring six others. How to recover from such a tragedy and when to consult a specialist?
Nicolas Bergeron, a psychiatrist specializing in post-traumatic shock at the CHUM, says that each person will react differently to tragic events, such as the one that occurred in Laval. First responders are trained to deal with such situations, but those who have improvised as rescuers are likely to need more attention, he explains.
However, still according to Dr. Bergeron, in general, the vast majority of people will not have sequelae.
“Even though the reactions may seem extremely intense with a lot of emotion, they are normal reactions to an abnormal event. »
— Dr. Nicolas Bergeron, psychiatrist
In an interview with ICI RDI, the psychiatrist, who is also an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, affirms that those directly affected by the tragedy will experience legitimate reactions, such as always feeling guard, being on high alert all the time, impatient, irritable or even having tremors.
These reactions are normal and will lessen over time. time, he explains. Even the strong images imprinted in our memory will disappear after a few weeks. But, he warns, if these symptoms persist beyond a month, it would certainly be worth seeking specialist help.
“You have to seek help if the symptoms are extremely intense, if they have an impact on our functioning and if they persist, especially. But it is normal to have symptoms for a while. »
— Dr. Nicolas Bergeron, psychiatrist
Among the intense symptoms to watch out for, he says, is the feeling of being disconnected from reality without necessarily falling into psychosis. It can get worrying, he says, while emphasizing the importance of finding anchor points through friends and loved ones. In general, the symptoms will decrease over time, before disappearing.
He also indicates that children will have different reactions from adults, depending on their age and their level of expression. Dr. Bergeron invites parents to observe the behavior of their little ones, especially if their sleep is restless, if they complain of stomach aches, if their appetite has decreased or if they no longer want to see their friends. or go to school. Parents should be attentive to this kind of reaction, he advises.
Earlier Thursday, the Premier of Quebec, François Legault, invited all those affected by the tragedy of Sainte-Rose – parents, children, educators, employees of the Société de transport de Laval, neighbors – to accept the psychological help offered to them.
“There is nothing harder than losing a child. […] How do we go on living? It's as serious as that.
—François Legault, Premier of Quebec
Accompanied by several ministers and the three leaders of the opposition to the National Assembly, François Legault went this afternoon to the scene of the tragedy which left two dead and six injured among the children attending the Ste-Rose Educational Daycare, in Laval.
Upon arriving at the scene of the tragedy, Mr. Legault met people who helped subdue the driver who had just cracked down. He praised their courage and bravery.
Mr. Legault also spoke with parents of children and with the director of the establishment, who was very emotional as she recounted the thread of events. It was the kids, the priority, the staff, saving them. I don't know what to tell you, she said, suppressing a sob.
The leaders of the main Quebec political parties also went there to pay tribute to the young victims.
A candlelight vigil was also planned for the evening with the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau.
If the news has negative impacts on your mental health or if you are worried about a loved one, workers are available to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Quebec Association for the Prevention of suicide: 1 866 CALL (277-3553)
Tel-Aide Montreal: 514 935-1101