Healing and wellness resources

Engaging with Indian Residential School histories and legacies can lead to emotional reactions and (unexpectedly) difficult thoughts and feelings. Sometimes these can surface hours, days, or weeks later. This is perfectly normal. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, it is important to respect your needs and to be kind to yourself. 

Common Reactions You May Experience

  • Emotional: Sadness, anger, frustration, feeling alone, mistrust of others, feeling guilt, shame, blame, fear, hopelessness, and/or overwhelmed
  • Spiritual: Wondering about your beliefs and/or values, doubting the kindness of people, not feeling in touch with yourself
  • Physical: Trouble sleeping, nightmares, stomach ache, nausea, headaches, crying, panic attacks, general body aches
  • Behavioural: Flashbacks, agitation, appetite changes, isolating self, mood swings, shock, difficulty concentrating

If you experience any of these reactions, know that they are not uncommon. To help process and/or cope with reactions, you can try some of the self-care strategies listed below. 

Self-Care Strategies 

If at any point you feel overwhelmed, or otherwise unable or uninterested in engaging, feel free to take a break with a friend or by yourself. Taking time out is an important coping strategy. 

You know yourself and your needs best. It is okay to take time and space to meet those needs, and to be supported in doing so:

  • Make a cup of tea. 
  • Eat something. 
  • Try moving around.
  • Go for a short walk. Try going outside if weather permits.
  • What are your senses telling you about your surroundings? Identify colours, sounds, or smells in the room.
  • Try closing your eyes and taking deep, slow breaths.
  • Make a list of things that make you feel strong and safe. Keep the list to reference and add to.
  • Call one of the crisis numbers listed below or reach out to a counselor.


Survivors and family members

Indigenous Peoples and community members


UBC faculty and staff