Canadian Seismologists recorded nothing unusual last October. But psychologists in Quebec monitored tremors of earthquake proportions. And the aftershocks continue.
On October 30, the French-speaking province voted, by a margin of just one percent, to remain part of Canada. The referendum, which threatened to split Canada in two, has left an atmosphere of hostility in its wake.
"This is more than ordinary,' stress," says Barbara Wainrib, Ph.D., of the impact the province's uncertain future is having on the mental health of its citizens. "This is traumatic stress, the kind that's normally associated with natural disasters."
Wainrib, a McGill University psychologist who specializes in crisis intervention, first noticed signs of public stress about two weeks before the vote. "My patients were taking half their therapy sessions to talk about their political fears," she recalls.