Grief and Your Mental Health in Unprecedented Times

Danika Beaulieu – April 2020

I want to start this blog post by saying that I am not a mental health professional. My intention with this blog is not to provide therapeutic advice, but rather to direct people to mental health services that may help them navigate their emotions amidst the pandemic and the events of April 19, 2020 that resulted in 22 innocent people losing their lives.

The amount of sadness and grief Nova Scotians are experiencing at the moment, collectively, is likely unprecedented. This past weekend, we experienced the worst mass shooting in Canadian history. An act of violence that most of us never believed could occur in this province that is known for its friendliness and neighborliness. Personally, this weekend’s events left me with so many emotions –an overwhelming sadness for the friends and families of the victims, a disturbing feeling of similarity to the events of June 4, 2014 in Moncton when three RCMP officers were murdered (I lived in Moncton at the time), and anger about the injustice of it all.

To make matters worst, this weekend’s events occurred while our country is experiencing an unprecedented pandemic that has already been playing a toll on people’s mental health. Prior to this weekend, so many people were already grieving so many things, such as loss of employment, loss of financial security, loss of freedom, not being able to share the birth of a child with family members, having to postpone a wedding, and so on. Although some of these things may seem minimal now compared to the grief we are experiencing as a result of this weekend’s events, it is still grief that many people have experienced during the pandemic and may continue to experience until the pandemic ends.

As previously mentioned, I am not a mental health professional. However, I must say that the best piece of advice I have received so far while trying to manage my own emotions throughout all of this is that all my feelings are valid and I am allowed to process them all. Sometimes, we don’t need someone to tell us that everything will be okay, we simply need someone to listen to us and tell us that we are allowed to feel how we feel. We are capable of grieving for the friends and families of the victims while also grieving loss of employment and perhaps also feeling gratitude that we have a roof over our heads.

At a time when we all have to remain physically apart, it is important to remember that we are not alone. Although we may not be able to hug our family members and friends like we would like to, we can still reach out to them by telephone or Zoom. If you would like professional assistance, you can always reach out to mental health professionals as well. They are always there to help. 

If you would like to speak to someone, here is some contact information that could be beneficial:

Further, if any readers are employed at a law firm, you and your family members can access the Nova Scotia Lawyer’s Assistance Program. For more information, please visit:


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