PEI

Fort McMurray evacuee starting support group on P.E.I.

Efforts are underway to form a support group for people who are back on P.E.I. after being forced from their homes because of the Fort McMurray fire.

People affected by fire may have feelings of 'hopelessness'

Karen Biggar, who returned to P.E.I. with her family and dogs after fleeing from Fort McMurray, is starting a support group for those affected by the fire. (Submitted by Karen Biggar)

Efforts are underway to form a support group for people who are back on P.E.I. after being forced from their homes because of the Fort McMurray fire.

Karen Biggar, who is living with her parents on P.E.I. after fleeing the fire with her family and dogs, said it's important for  evacuees to have social support.

"This was a very traumatic event ... especially individuals who have lost everything they know, for sure, or for individuals who don't know if they have a job to go back to," she said.

In Fort McMurray, Biggar was a nursing instructor who specialized in mental health and addictions. She thinks people affected by the fire might want to get together to share their feelings and find out how to access mental health resources.

"After being evacuated, there is a feeling of hopelessness," she said. "Sometimes it doesn't impact you until a couple of weeks later, a month later, and so that's the time where it is crucial to have those social supports in place."

Officials with the Canadian Mental Health Association on P.E.I. say hey will work with Biggar to get a group off the ground if she finds there are enough people interested.

With files from Angela Walker

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