The suddenness of a tragic death affecting the community this week has left this area in grief and morning, but there is help available for those who need it.
A popular and respected teacher and coach at Pigeon Lake School, Colin Axelsen, was killed in a motor vehicle collision July 12 On Highway #21 near Stettler. RCMP allege Axelsen’s van was struck by an SUV that failed to stop at a stop sign. Axelsen’s 10 month old daughter Madeline was also critically injured in the crash and died later in hospital.
Axelsen’s wife Leanne and two sons Emmett and Benjamin survived the crash.
While everyone who heard the news was horrified and heartbroken, there are some in the community who may be struggling even more to deal with the grief such a tragedy brings with it. Readers of The Pipestone Flyer should know there are resources available for those struggling with grief or depression.
John Vandenbeld, communications coordinator for the City of Wetaskiwin, said there are a variety of agencies and resources available locally that can offer some help.
“The City of Wetaskiwin Family & Community Support Services department provides links to a number of organizations, including many that deal with grief and mental health,” stated Vandenbeld July 16 via email.
“The most appropriate resource is probably one-on-one walk-in counseling service, which is available for free through the Wetaskiwin Primary Care Network (www. http://www.wetaskiwinpcn.ca or 780-312-2500).
“Additional resources are also available through the Mental Health Clinic located in the Wetaskiwin Provincial Building (5201-50 Avenue, www.albertahealthservices.ca).”
City of Leduc family support coordinator Amanda Ulrickson said most Alberta communities have access to a Family and Community Support Services department, and FCSS departments’ services vary by community.
In Leduc, FCSS provides one-on-one support to children, youth, families and seniors and within that support FCSS can provide referrals inside the community. Ulrickson said FCSS will also work one-on-one with local residents to meet their needs as well.
FCSS can also provide subsidized counseling for qualified individuals and families.
Ulrickson said the city is set this fall to begin offering “Children in Change,” a group setting for children experiencing significant change in their lives that will include grief and death in the topics.
More information is available online at www.wetaskiwin.ca or www.leduc.ca.