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Health Support for Residents

As residents heal from the impacts of the wildfire, the emotional, physical and mental health of the community remains top of mind.

The following resources will support residents in maintaining their health and well-being in the months and years to come.

Recovery Takes Time

Disasters are usually unexpected and can have a big impact on your emotional and physical health. Most people will recover from a disaster or emergency over time.

For some people, the signs of stress after a disaster or emergency don’t appear until weeks or months after the event has happened.

Warning signs that you’re not coping well include:

  • Thinking about the disaster or emergency all the time
  • Having flashbacks about the event
  • A change in your sleep pattern (e.g. sleeping less or more, waking up through the night, having nightmares, not sleeping at all)
  • Avoiding people or activities that you usually enjoy
  • Using alcohol or drugs more
  • Having thoughts about harming yourself or suicide
  • Changes in appetite (eating more or less than usual)
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling worried or frustrated more than usual

Alcohol, drugs or gambling might seem like a quick way to feel good again but using these ways to cope can lead to bigger problems. Ask for help to find better ways to cope before it becomes a problem. Even if you had challenges coping before the event, you can still learn new healthier ways to cope. It’s important to use your supports and be patient.

Talk to a trusted friend, counsellor or support person if you:

  • Have emotional reactions that are getting in the way of relationships, work or other important activities.
  • Have other people telling you they’re worried about how you’re doing or feeling.

Resources for Children

The focus on recovery includes the emotional recovery of our community, our residents, and especially our children. The Municipality is working closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS), the Government of Alberta and community partners on a psychosocial framework for our community to support families in this time of need.

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Counselling Services provides family counselling (parents with children of all ages).

Serving young children is a specific area of expertise and requires a specialized team. For more information on services for children, call 780-791-6194. Further support will be provided in the schools including:

  • A mobile AHS team that will do outreach to schools in the region
  • Psychosocial support for students and teachers
  • Training for teachers in trauma informed practice
  • Enhanced access to resources

Health Services in Fort McMurray

View AHS's post-wildfire health resources, including addiction and mental health services here and here.

Counselling Services

Borealis Counselling Services

Legacy Counselling

Waypoints (domestic violence, sexual assault and abuse)

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Counselling Services (family counselling for parents with children of all ages)

Mental Health Help Line - 1877-303-2642

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness - Help Line: 1-855-242-3310

Helpful Links

Wildfire Rebuild  [Learn more]

Winter Maintenance Zones are relaxed [Learn more]