Let there be no more tears shed at quiet, non-regimental, funerals. Let us stop RCMP members from suffering in silence as their PTSD injury consumes their lives and, finally, takes it from them. Let us stop only asking if RCMP members are getting enough treatment for PTSD. Let us finally ask the questions we would about all other work place injuries. Was it preventable?
If police officers were construction workers and fell from a height off of scaffolding and died, would you ask if they got enough treatment in the last moments of their lives? Or would you be asking what was done to prevent them from falling? Were they made aware of all the risks of working at a height and was this reinforced regularly? Did they have the proper safety equipment, was it being used, was it functioning correctly, had it been tested, had they been trained on how to use it, was their training up to date, were they being supervised, was their supervisor trained on how to use the equipment, was their training up to date? What were the company’s safety procedures for working at heights? Did it match or exceed WCB standards? Did they have trained first aid attendants available, how fast did they respond, was their training up to date and did they have the proper equipment to administer the first aid needed?
So many questions are asked and investigated when these accidents happen and lessons learned about how they could be prevented, but what is asked about a police officer being injured with PTSD? Do they not deserve the best possible protection from a lifelong, life altering and possibly fatal injury?
Do we not ask these question because there is still the presumption it is a weakness or a character flaw. Do we believe in some way they brought it on themselves?
That we as a society accept this perpetuates the stigma of PTSD injuries.
PTSD is an injury and everything must be done by a police service to prevent them.
We need to start asking these tough questions of our police leaders and they must be called upon to answer them.
By Lori, Founder of Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness