Here's where you can go for help in the wake of Monday's van attack

Traumatic events like Monday’s van attack have repercussions that reverberate far beyond those directly involved. There are a number community services and hotlines available to people experiencing trauma and emotional distress.

Multiple hotlines and services are available to those feeling emotionally distressed

A woman wipes her eyes in front of the public memorial site near the van attack along Yonge Street. (David Donnelly/CBC)

Traumatic events like Monday's van attack have repercussions that reverberate far beyond those directly involved. 

For those who witnessed Monday's attack or saw the terrifying images of bodies strewn across Yonge Street, it can be difficult to go on with day-to-day life.

Experts say it's important to reach out to those around you and, if necessary, to trained professionals for help when experiencing trauma and emotional distress. There are a number of accessible community services and 24/7 hotlines available if you're in need.

Helplines

There are a number of telephone lines that operate 24 hours a day, 365 days per year:

Toronto Police Victims Hotline: 416-808-8085

Toronto police have set up a hotline for family and friends of victims.

Victim Services Toronto: 416-808-7066

The Victim Crisis Response Program assists individuals and families in the immediate aftermath of crime or sudden and unexpected tragedy. Their helpline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. It is the only service in Toronto providing immediate on-scene crisis, trauma, safety and support services for victims of crime and sudden tragedies.  

Toronto Distress Centre: 416-408-4357

The Toronto Distress Centre offers a variety of psychological support and crisis intervention services to people in distress. Volunteer responders provide support with the supervision of professional staff.

Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868

Kids Help Phone is a helpline focusing on children and youth. It is completely anonymous and confidential.

LGBT Youth Line: 1-800-268-9688

LGBT Youth Line provides anonymous peer support for queer, trans, two-spirit people 29 and under.

Morneau Shepell national crisis hotline: 1-844-751-2133

The human resources company has set up a national crisis support line available to anyone in need of emotional support. Individuals who call the hotline will receive counselling support and referral to community resources.

Counselling Services

Ontario Psychological Association

The Ontario Psychological Association has a searchable directory of psychologists that can help you find a professional based on your particular needs.

What's Up Walk In Clinic

What's Up Walk In offers free mental health counselling for children, youth, young adults and their families. They have six locations across Toronto.

Family Services Toronto

Family Services is a non-profit that provides counselling in a number of languages for anyone living and working in Toronto. Fees are charged on a sliding scale and are meant to be accessible to people of all incomes.

Reaching out to others 'the antidote'

One of the problems with an event like this is the randomness of it, said Steve Joordens, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

"The problem our brain has with these situations is that our brain likes things to make sense," said Joordens. "It seems senseless, random and that there's nothing we can do about it."

This feeling can lead to a sense of powerlessness.

Joordens said that the antidote to the fear and anxiety is social connections and social networks.

"The most vulnerable people are those who do not have a strong social network," said Joordens. "They're the ones that need to reach out to people and talk about their feelings."