Burnaby RCMP Victim Services: Processing the emotional impact of Metrotown incident


2021-10-05 13:00 PDT

File # 21-34907

Burnaby RCMP recognizes the ongoing emotional impact that people may be experiencing in light of a serious police incident on Friday that caused the evacuation of Metropolis at Metrotown.

While there were no physical injuries, and the incident is believed to be unfounded and likely a case of swatting, the event has understandably been traumatic for many people who were in the area. The incident remains under investigation.

Burnaby RCMP’s Victim Services unit supports victims and survivors of crime and trauma, and helps support people dealing with the emotional, physical, and financial effects of crime.

Burnaby RCMP’s Victim Services Coordinator, Aman Gill, has provided the following answers to some commonly asked questions in an effort to support those who may have been impacted.

Q: What kind of emotional impact or physical reactions might people experience after a traumatic incident?

A: Trauma responses are specific to the person as well as the incident, and it is important not to expect to respond in the same way as others, as everyone will process situations differently.

After an abnormal incident such as the one that took place at Metrotown on Oct. 1, some people may find themselves experiencing strong emotional and physical reactions.

For some, this may include a sense of fear and panic, as well as anxiety, a rapid heart rate, muscle tremors and chills. These reactions can be common immediately after a traumatic incident.

After a few days, some people affected by the event may also feel hyper-sensitive to certain noises. It may also be common to experience flashbacks, or difficulty making decisions.

These are often normal responses that human bodies and minds can experience after a traumatic incident, like the one on Friday.

Q: What steps can I take to help process my emotions?

A: There are several steps that some people may find helpful, which include:

Q: I am having recurring thoughts about the Metrotown incident, how can I work through these lingering feelings?

A: Having recurring thoughts or flashbacks of the event are often normal responses, but should decrease over time. Remember that flashbacks and triggers will come and go, especially in the first few days or weeks after the incident. This is how your body is responding to what you experienced.

Burnaby RCMP Victim Services caseworkers frequently suggest doing grounding techniques and focusing on what is actually around you at that moment. Let yourself know that you are safe and in a safe place at this moment.

If these reactions are not minimizing, you may need to seek further support from your doctor or mental health professional.

Q: What resources are available to me?

A: Employees who were working at Metrotown the day of the incident can contact WorkSafeBC’s Critical Incident Response (CIR) program. This service is provided to all employees who want to seek help for this event. They are open seven days a week, Monday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 1-888-922-3700.

Members of the public who have been impacted by this incident and are in need of support can call the Fraser Health Crisis Line at 604-951-8855 or 1-877-820-7444, this line is open 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 

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