Battling mental trauma after Barrie tornado

As crews continue to pick up the pieces and start to rebuild what was lost in Barrie's recent tornado, officials are working towards making access to mental health support as easy as possible.

Dozens turned out to St. Gabriel's School Thursday afternoon for 'Healing After Trauma: Regaining Your Mental Health After a Disaster,' a community event spearheaded by Barrie's Ward 1 councillor, Jim Harris.

"This is really very simple. We can see the impact of the tornado, the physical impact, the shingles, the roofs, the cars, the damage, but there's also the personal impact," says Harris, who also works for New Path Youth & Family Services, one of the agencies making their support available. "We wanted to make sure that our families and children, our community knows that there are services available to help them through this very challenging time."

In addition to New Path Youth & Family Services, Catholic Family Services and Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care representatives were also at Thursday's community event.

"I understand the importance of talking about events when they happen, and the power of actually taking control over an event like this or feeling like you have some control over the vents that happen after an event like this," says Stephanie Quito, a 9-1-1 dispatcher whose home was damaged in the tornado. "You have to come out and talk; you have to talk to your neighbours."

For those who were unable to attend Thursday's gathering or who may decide they need help at a later day, officials say that there will be further information sessions in the weeks ahead.