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Hug loved ones a little tighter

Waking up and looking outside at the mountains can be healing for the soul, but for most in the region, it's been an extremely tough year to call this home.

After a heartbreaking spring and summer in and around the communities, the old cliché is true, and that is life is fragile. The region has been unable to avoid tragedy on the roads, in the backcountry, and, in townsites.

There's an unsaid knowledge that heading into the backcountry is done at one's own risk, but the unsettling wave of recent violence has hit way too close to home for many.

The feeling is mutual – shock, sadness, anger, disbelief – and the Outlook sends its condolences to the families, friends and all those affected by these unthinkable events. We'd also like to send our appreciation to all the local first responders.

For those finding their mental health ailing during these tough times, it's important to know resources are available in the community. The Town of Banff is urging anyone struggling to seek assistance with Banff Mineral Springs Hospital's Urgent Mental Health from 2-9 p.m. 

Calling 2-1-1, at any time of the day, is a free and confidential service for Albertans to gain access to mental health services and counsellors.

The Town is working with Bow Valley Victim Services to aid with first responders, downtown staff and others following the most recent brutal incident.

Banff is making international headlines after two murders occurred in its downtown in less than a month – the first time murder has happened in the mountain resort community in three decades.

At times, the vibe in Banff can make it seem like it's an otherworldly haven immune to atrocious actions, but sharp fangs clamped down recently with a never-ending parade of stolen bicycles, women being drugged at bars, and now, callous murders. As told in the front page story of this week's edition of the Outlook, some people might even feel uneasy about being in their own homes.

And it's not just happening in our backyard, but also in other provinces, where recent tragedies involving murder and car accidents have sent shockwaves around the country.

If you haven't already today, take a minute to throw your arms around friends, family and loved ones, and hug them tightly.

If you're unable to do that, send a thoughtful text or call the important ones in your life.

It's been a tough year.