After more than a decade of struggling through PTSD I’m saying yes to family and life

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Ok friends and family……after 16 years I have decided to take medical retirement from the RCMP.

I realize I should hang my head in shame because I’m clearly not strong enough physically and mentally for the job anymore but screw that, I’m a survivor!!!!!!

After more than a decade of struggling through PTSD and giving birth to 4 children in 4.5 years I’m saying yes to family and life!!!!!!!

I want to pay honour to my career with the RCMP. Things were not perfect in the organization but I believe that things are/will get better.

I have literally seen it all.

I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes,

I’ve made quick calls home on my way to violent gun calls,

I’ve seen the most evil things.

I’ve run toward what everyone else was running away from.

I’ve also seen human kindness and generosity in the most extravagant ways.

I believe I served the Lord as law enforcement for the most vulnerable, broken people and I will continue to do that with the Field of Faith Foundation.

Thank you for everyone who has supported me mainly His worship Les Alm and my momma Linda Bakke-Alm. You guys are bar none the best parents ever!!!

Thank you to my husband Troy Idler who has supported me through this very tumultuous decision making period.

Thank you to my children for patiently waiting for me to choose them over my career. I love you guys!! Dianna Campbell, Mark Robinson, Matthew Robinson Elijah Christian, Olak kristen Robinson, Heidi Idler, Sophie idler and Erica Robinson. I wouldn’t trade a trillion dollars for what these kids have brought to my life and taught me about life and love. I learned from the best how to be a mother ❤️ Linda ❤️ and I am lucky to be able to move on from a demanding career to be there for my children and husband. To continue to heal my own heart and be there to see others healed.

Thanks everyone for your support. The best is literally yet to come!!!!!

I’ve got an awesome job working for one of the most amazing, generous employers Jennifer Lynn in a community that I love!!!

What more could anyone ask for?????? #RCexit

Cst Kim Alm

***update. I’m getting lots of messages from currently serving RCMP members struggling with PTSD. Please message. Support is here. Where others have abandoned you and where you feel alone I will not do that to you! I promise. That was the purpose of this post. Full disclosure! No shame!!!!

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Two years after graduating the sergeant came knocking on my door…..

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He did not sign up for this. He signed up for making a difference in the world. He signed up because of his deep rooted patriotism and desire to serve and protect his community and his country. When he graduated, his trainer said that he had never even drawn his gun. He’d certainly never been drawn down on! I was told we never speak of accidents or shootings. It was as though I would jinx the whole thing. I was told I didn’t need to know, because it would never happen.
Two years after graduating the sergeant came knocking on my door. By the grace of God my husband was alive but I was not prepared. I was so shocked and caught off guard.
This will be our ninth regimental funeral. Nope, we did not sign up for this.
When he was diagnosed with PTSD 18 years ago, we had no clue what that meant. Now I do. I know that going to this funeral will trigger him and we will spend the next three weeks getting him back on track. We already have an appointment made with the therapist. But this is what we do to honour those who fall. The esprit de corps and camaraderie that will fill the streets on Tuesday will remain with us and keep us going.
I’m so grateful to the people who’ve reached out to us to ask if we’re ok. We don’t have to justify our grief to them. They don’t ask us if we knew Cst. Beckett. They know it’s irrelevant. They’re all brothers and sisters and they all mourn each other equally. Hopefully this will be the last regimental funeral we will ever have to attend.

From a member of our admin team here at Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness

Relative Cost of Mental Health in the RCMP

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I have previously posted my belief RCMP employees should be required to see a psychologist of their choice as part of RCMP “Mandatory” medicals. One barrier to this that always comes up is the cost so I thought I would provide some context as to what the cost would be and how insignificant it actually is compared to the amount of funding the RCMP receives and costs of having employees “Off Duty Sick” and on “Graduated Return to Work”. Before all the purists start to comment “I don’t understand the complexity of Treasury Board Funding Policies”, I want to make it very clear I served at a level and in positions where I was required not only to understand “Treasury Board Rules” but Provincial Funding Policies under the “Provincial Policing Services Agreement (PPSA)” as well. I do not represent this as a comprehensive study on the topic because it isn’t (I did it in a couple of hours). I do believe what follows accurately illustrates the financial burden to provide mental health services to every employee is not as financially overwhelming as RCMP Senior Management suggests. As we all know, getting facts from the RCMP is difficult so I obtained the following excerpts from on-line Quarterly Reports and Audits:
“The RCMP achieved Budget 2012 savings of $44.4 million in 2012-13. Savings increased to $89.1 million for 2013-14 and will reach the on-going savings target of $195.2 million in 2014-15 (inclusive of employee benefit plan costs). These savings are being accomplished with minimal impacts on direct policing operations.
The period ending December 31, 2013 marks the second year of Budget 2012 implementation and the RCMP is preparing for the third and final year when its reference levels will be reduced to the full savings target of $195.2 million. Some key initiatives include:
• Health Care Modernization – The RCMP is modernizing its Health Services program through an amendment to the definition of an “insured person” under the Canada Health Act (received Royal Assent on June 29, 2012). As of April 1, 2013, basic health care coverage for regular members is now under provincial/territorial regimes. The RCMP anticipates significant reductions in basic health care expenditures in 2013-14, with full savings associated to the initiative being realized in 2014-15. Savings in expenditures is evident upon review of standard object 4, which is reflecting a $25.8 million year-over-year reduction, largely attributed to this DRAP initiative.
• In 2013-14
o Operating Budget Carry Forward is $53.1 million higher in 2013-14 when compared to 2012-13. In 2012-13, the RCMP received $101.2 million through TB Central Vote transfer, whereas in 2013-14 the RCMP received $154.3 million in funding.”
On September 1st, 2015 there were 28,461 employees in the RCMP. If you multiply that by $160.00, the hourly cost of a Psychologist in the province I reside it would cost $4,553,760.00 annually or $2,276,880.00 if included as part of mandatory medicals every two years. This is less than 1/5th of the $25.8 million year-over-year reduction achieved through the Health Care Modernization noted above.
In February of 2014 the Final Report on the “Audit of Long – Term Sick Leave” was released and below is the Table with respect to Graduated Return to Work. The review used 4 Divisions for Audit purposes. (www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/aud-ver/reports-rapports/lts-cmld-eng.htm)
As shown in Table 1 below, notwithstanding the lack of complete and accurate information in HRMIS, for the divisions tested GRW timelines were significantly higher than standard:
Table 1 – Average period for members reported GRW as at March 1, 2013:
Division #GRW on HRMIS Average # Months
1 7 7.1
2 187 9.4
3 39 7.1
4 28 7.5
Total 261 7.78
Considering it was reported in 2010 that “E” Division had over 200 members on Long Term Sick Leave it is unlikely it is one of the Divisions included in the Audit so lets’ use the hypothetical scenario of 800 members annually on ODS for 2 months or 1/6th of a year prior to coming back on GRW with the Cst. salary of $39/hr. RCMP members are paid for 2,087 hours per year, so 2 months represents 348 hrs or $13,572 in salary. If you multiply that by 800 members which would be a conservative estimate, the cost is $10,857,600 or more than double the cost of having each employee see a psychologist once a year.
No, I am not naive enough to believe seeing a psychologist once a year is going to eliminate Operational Stress Injuries (OSI”s) but it would go a long way to preventing/mitigating not only OSI’s but a number of other issues related to mental health. It would also check off a box on every Commissioned Officers ”Performance Agreement” which seems to be the primary (if not the only) reason for doing things in today’s environment. This simple action would provide employees with an additional resource (maybe their only resource in some cases) in the eventuality they do suffer an OSI, provide them with an opportunity to develop strategies to increase resiliency to OSI’s early thereby reducing the long term effects and above all promote and educate everyone on mental health.
The RCMP Mental Health Strategy 2014-2019 listed the following as key areas:
(www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/fam/strat-eng.htm)
Our focus
The strategy focuses on five key areas:
1. Promotion
2. Education
3. Prevention
4. Early detection and intervention
5. Continuous improvement.
The requirement for employees to see a psychologist as part of mandatory medicals addresses all 5. The cost everyone is so concerned about in all likelihood would be recovered multiple times over through reduced ODS and GRW. I am not one to write the Public Safety Minister, Provincial Justice Minister or the Commissioner as you are quickly labelled a “disgruntled employee”, “uniformed” or “trouble maker” and I am none of them. I visited a former colleague the other day and he told me I was too “passionate” about the force when I was working and I am still too “passionate” about it. I like everyone else served proudly and despite the pitfalls of certain individuals within the organization there are a far greater number of employees (past and present) who are as passionate as I am and if we all stand together change on this issue is possible. Yes, there is a significant cost to providing mental health services but there is a far greater cost to “not providing mental health services”. Above all, maybe there won’t be a next time someone feels they have no option other than to sacrifice their own life.
S/Sgt. R.T. Miller (retired)

RIP Const. Jean-Pascal Nolin

We write this note with a very heavy heart, we have lost another RCMP member, Const. Jean-Pascal Nolin, a 10-year veteran of the force, reportedly parked his cruiser at the Metcalfe Street side entrance to the Thomas D’Arcy McGee building, between Sparks and Queen streets, then walked in to the offices of the force’s A Division Parliament Hill detachment, located in the building, and shot himself. He leaves behind a spouse and two young children.
Our hearts go out to Const. Jean-Pascal Nolin family and all those who knew, worked with and loved him, all of whom are struggling to deal with the aftermath of suicide.
Please know that we at Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness are devastated and we are working tirelessly to do all we can to stop these tragedies from occurring.
We send a plea to each and every one of you to reach out to those who are retired or those you know are struggling with PTSD, to both the members and their families, and let them know they are not alone, that you care, we care and we are all are here for each other.
RIP Const. – You and your contribution to Canada and society will not be forgotten.
Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness

Source

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I am not ashamed to admit that I do have PTSD

I am not ashamed to admit that I do have PTSD, the nightmares, the triggers, the very bad days where you think there is no help.
I share this experience cause for me personally, the weeks and days leading up to my annual training were filled with anxiousness and the willingness to just give up and cancel, avoid it….I did not want to give this “injury” more power on me, consume me further; However from what I learned from professional help, is that I needed to face these new challenges head on, and to keep telling myself to “bring myself back to the present”
I know deep down inside that this is just “training” – We have to prepare for this, cause I know personally it is inevitable and it can happen.

My coworkers / friends who bleed blue know that we have to, and we will go towards that threat, we will NOT give up, we will give everything we have, cause unselfishly, that’s what we signed up for.

At times, I wanted to give up through this challenge, however on June 4, 2014, Moncton, NB while running through the carnage; 3 friends /co-workers / Heroes, paid the ultimate price- they DID NOT give up. I take solace in knowing that;
And the least I can do, is to fight through these challenges.
Although emotionally draining, I do feel that a small weight was lifted off my shoulders; I got through it with some peer support and great instructors.

There is hope out there, the sun does get brighter as days go by. #thinblueline #rcmp #ptsd #training #hope

Anonymous

March 6th, 1986 will never be forgotten in my mind and in the mind of many others RIP S/Cst. Rob Thomas

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March 6th, 1986 will never be forgotten in my mind and in the mind of many others. It was on that day, that S/Cst. Rob Thomas and Cst. Reg Gulliford, were needlessly gunned down in Powerview, Manitoba. S/Cst. Rob Thomas was fatally shot through the back and was killed instantly on that night shift in March. Rob’s son, to be born in the near future, would never meet his Dad. He has grown to be a find young man.

On that night, Reg and Rob had stopped to see if a motorist at a closed service station was in need of assistance. They were just trying to be helpful in small town Canada. Rob got out of the passenger side of the police truck and was walking toward the stopped car. Suddenly the driver’s door swung open and a rifle came out. Rob turned to get back to the police truck and as his hand touched the door, a shot rang out. Reg watched in horror as Rob’s eyes rolled back and Rob was dead before he hit the ground. I will never forget how upset Reg was as he related this story to me at his bedside of ICU in the St. Boniface hospital in Winnipeg. The feeling of helplessness, guilt and second guessing is hard to put behind you when you are looking into your young partners eyes as he passes away. Watch your policing partner die. It is absolutely horrible. Nobody ever gets over that image. Every RCMP Member who was at that Detachment was permanently scarred by this tragic event.

Reg jumped out of the driver’s side for cover and drew his service revolver. Rifle shots rang out and Reg returned fire. Reg was shot and hit the ground. The shooter walked toward the police vehicle to finish him off with a couple more shots. Then the shooter got back in his car and left. Reg was left bleeding to death in the parking lot.

Through the quick and heroic efforts of local citizens and the first responders, Reg was evacuated to emergency medical care. His injuries were so severe he literally died and was brought back to life. His loyal wife, a nurse at the receiving hospital held his hand all the way to the trauma unit.

After many months and many surgeries later Reg was lucky to survive. He would never recover completely and nor would his family, friends and colleagues. Reg worked hard to get back to work, but would never see another day, back in the patrol car. He managed the severe injuries to his body and never regained full use of his leg.

Throughout this medical miracle, Reg endured endless X-Rays to assist is in his recovery. He passed away over 20 years later while still an active RCMP Member. He managed his injuries and adapted to his physical and mental changes. He eventually battled a rare form of cancer that was related to radiation exposure. This exposure was from the endless X-rays to help him recover. I cried as I stood by his graveside on that cold January in our home town. Memories of March 6, 1986 still fresh in my memory. His death was directly related to that fateful night on March 6, 1986.

Reg and I would chat in his hospital room about our teenaged years, our days in university, our families, teenaged hockey adventures and our work days in the bush. Reg would lift the dressings on his belly to show me the cellophane covered window to his intestines. They had to keep him open to clean out infection and lead bullet fragments , as they were located during medical procedures. Reg was as tough as nails and as gentle as a lamb. A big strong guy with massive hands, but still his Mudder’s boy. My heart ached but my face could never show the pain to a man who was bravely enduring so much. Rob was a kind and considerate young man who was looking forward to a bright future and growing his family.

I attended Rob Thomas’s, regimental funeral at the First Nations community of Peguis, Manitoba on a cold March day. Tears were frozen on the faces of the toughest of police officers. Such a senseless loss of life and a terrible tragedy for the families involved. These police offices were just looking to help someone out on a cold March nite. But, as the saying goes, no good deed should go unpunished. In the spirit of his aboriginal upbringing, Rob’s father lead the community and spiritual healing.

Please remember Rob and Reg for the their choices to serve their community and country. Rest in peace good men, as your children and grandchildren are good people and your spouses continue to honour your memory. There and many others who will forever remember your sacrifice.

Please remember all those who had their lives turned upside down on that cold March night the hamlet of Powerview, Manitoba. Remember that theses police officers were just trying to be helpful in a quiet small town. Remember the ultimate sacrifice they made.

Rest in peace Rob and Reg. Your memories and our respect for your ultimate sacrifice will live forever in all who knew you two brave police officers. God bless you.

Blue lives matter, all lives matter. That is why Rob and Reg were out there on that cold March night.

Steve Walker

Believe me if I could change things I would….

Just when you think you can leave the past behind it comes back to slap you in the face. 10 years have gone by and it was before I was aware of PTSD. My actions then continue to be revisited by family (on occasion) when you least expect it. Believe me if I could change things I would and there isn’t a day goes by that I don’t regret the decisions I made then. Even more so knowing the people that convinced me work was more important than family were playing me like a fiddle. Choosing work over family never goes away because once your done work you are quickly forgotten while your family is still there if you are lucky. For those still working, if your supervisors and peers are telling you work is a priority and your family will understand don’t make the same mistake I did, it is bs with a capital B. Once the organization gets what they want, they will leave you to pick up the pieces if you can find them. I was lucky even though days like this make it hard to believe. At least I have a family to give me days like this rather than the bottom of a bottle or worse. Sorry for the rant.

Please take care. “you’re never wrong to do the right thing.”

R.T. (Bob) Miller S/Sgt. (retired)