Call to Action –– Canada-Wide Operational Stress Injuries Survey

Call to Action –– Canada-Wide Operational Stress Injuries Survey
S’il vous plaît, consultez la version française de ce courriel ci-dessous.

Hello All,

A week ago the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) released the first national survey to assess operational stress injury (OSI) symptoms for Canadian First Responders and other Public Safety Personnel.

Participating in this anonymous survey will help provide critically-needed information about OSI symptom prevalence (e.g., symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic) for Canadian First Responders and other Public Safety Personnel. The survey can also assess interactions between stress, symptoms, your family, and your workplace.
Numbers matter. We currently don’t have reliable data on OSI symptom prevalence rates. We are counting on you to participate and encourage others to participate because doing so provides evidence for engaging strategies and allocating resources to support mental health for all Canadian First Responders and other Public Safety Personnel.
Whatever your mental health, your responses will help everyone in need.

Please distribute this e-mail and the attached document to all of your currently serving personnel and encourage them to distribute ensuring all personnel are invited. A subsequent survey for retired members is being planned for distribution as soon as possible.

For more information on the survey and on CIPSRT, please refer to the attached document or visit http://www.justiceandsafety.ca

A formal invitation to participate in the survey is attached. We sincerely hope you choose to participate, therein supporting yourself and your peers, and allowing us to advocate for appropriate resources to support public safety mental health.

Thank you all again for your ongoing help, support, and patience through this process.

If you have questions or comments please contact Steve Palmer, University of Regina ssteve.palmer@uregina.ca or 306-535-8365

Additional information regarding CIPSRT is available on the website http://www.justiceandsafety.ca

Appel à l’action –Sondage à travers le Canada sur les traumatismes liés au stress opérationnel

Bonjour,

Il y a une semaine L’Institut canadien de recherche et de traitement en sécurité publique (ICRTSP) lancer le premier sondage national pour évaluer les symptômes de traumatismes liés au stress opérationnel (TSO) chez les premiers répondants et les autres membres du personnel de la sécurité publique.

Votre participation à ce sondage anonyme contribuera à fournir des informations importantes sur la prévalence des TSO (symptômes de stress post-traumatique, dépression, anxiété, par exemple) chez les premiers répondants et les autres membres du personnel de la sécurité publique au Canada. Le sondage pourra aussi évaluer la corrélation entre le stress, les symptômes, votre famille et votre travail.
Les chiffres parlent. Nous n’avons aujourd’hui aucune donnée fiable sur le taux de prévalence des TSO. Nous comptons sur vous pour participer et encourager d’autres à participer, car ce faisant, vous apporterez les éléments de preuve nécessaires à établir des stratégies et à attribuer les ressources pour aider la santé mentale de tous les premiers répondants et les autres membres du personnel de la sécurité publique au Canada.
Quelle que soit votre santé mentale, vos réponses aideront tous ceux qui en ont besoin.

Veuillez diffuser ce courriel et les pièces jointes à tous vos employés actuellement en service et encouragez-les à le faire suivre aux autres, afin que tous les membres du personnel soient invités. On planifie distribuer, dès que possible, un sondage ultérieur aux membres du personnel à la retraite.

Pour plus d’informations sur le sondage ou sur l’ICRTSP, veuillez consulter le document ci-joint ou visiter le site http://www.justiceandsafety.ca.

Une invitation officielle à participer au sondage sera envoyée le 1er septembre. Nous espérons sincèrement que vous déciderez d’y participer, pour votre bien et celui de vos pairs, et ainsi nous permettre de faire valoir le besoin d’obtenir les ressources nécessaires pour soutenir la santé mentale en sécurité publique.

Si vous avez des questions ou des commentaires s’il vous plaît contacter Steve Palmer, University of Regina steve.palmer@uregina.ca or 306-535-8365

Des informations supplémentaires concernant ICRTSP est disponible sur le site Web http://www.justiceandsafety.ca
Je vous remercie à nouveau de votre confiance, de votre appui constant et de votre patience tout au long de ce processus.
Je vous remercie sincèrement à l’avance de votre collaboration.

Salutations,
L’équipe ICRTSP

Copyright © 2016 Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety, All rights reserved.
All CIPSRT Stakeholders

Our mailing address is:
Collaborative Centre for Justice and Safety
3737 Wascana Parkway
Regina, Sk S4S 0A2
Canada

A Police Officer was buried today…

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 8.15.19 PM

A Police Officer was buried today…
And a piece of our country she swore to protect goes with her
The Canada flag flies at half-mast again today
Her name will be added to a memorial wall
While a young, widower must work to raise their children alone
And spend many long, lonely nights.
Those who worked and loved her will carry a heavy burden
As they struggle to make themselves whole once more
Yes, A Police Officer was buried today…
Maybe it was in your city or not,
She put her life on the line
It happened while we slept in comfort
She answered the call . . . of herself she gave her all,
And because of this a part of Canada has died as well…
Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness

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

10600372_1311003868915770_5412626604822360521_n

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

The Stigma of Suicide is Alive and Strong!

Screen Shot 2016-03-26 at 1.36.18 PM

When I started my advocacy journey, over 3 years ago, I was a naive spouse driven by pain and the need to bring PTSD out from the darkness. My hope was to save families from some of the pain mine had gone through by having an awareness and knowledge of mental health.
I was not aware police officers were dying by suicide, but soon became aware, from the few brave and courageous spouses and families who stepped forward to break the silence.
These families have deeply touched my soul and I will bring a part of them with me through life. I have shed many tears reading their emails and talking to them. I have heard their pain and felt honoured to have had their trust, so I could share their families’ experiences with the world. I hold them all very dearly. I see them as beacons of bravery and courage.
What I wasn’t prepared for was those who are adamant about keeping suicides and/or PTSD under the rug and quiet. I have been subjected to relentless, mean, rude and hateful Facebook messages and emails about our decision to share and acknowledge suicides. Some have gone as far as saying I am responsible for the deaths of members by popularizing suicides. Others have said I am disrespecting families and the policing profession. Some spouses have hunted down my personal Facebook page and sent me nasty messages saying that I am every police spouse’s worst nightmare, threatening to start a campaign against me if I don’t stop. One told me my soul is going to burn in hell.
This isn’t just limited to suicides, some are furious to have images of RCMP members and PTSD put together. One RCMP member incessantly contacts me every time I use the picture, with different quotes on it, of the RCMP member slumped over his cruiser door during the Moncton tragedy, depicting the true emotions of a police officer reacting to a very traumatic event he witnessed. She states she is a good friend of this member, he doesn’t have PTSD and I have no right to use it in reference to PTSD in anyway. She says I am humiliating him and demands I take it down.
I have had to take my personal information off the website as I have had people contact me saying they have my name and are going to track me down.
I have had senior police members from different police departments contact me and demand I remove posts.
I have not and I will not.
I am very careful not to make references to what led to their suicide other than when families have shared with me the details of their struggles. I don’t even use the word suicide in the post, just “We lost another” and what was made public.
Almost all of the posts I make about losing a police officer are because someone close to them contacts me and requests for me to do so. They feel a deep need to have them publicly honoured and acknowledged.
I feel deeply that to stay quiet about suicide, to continue to treat it as taboo or a sin, is telling those who are struggling with what is going on within them is also wrong. If we don’t open up the dialogue, and be honest, we are telling people “you need to keep your struggles hidden”. We can stop the need to post about members who went to such a dark place, the only viable option they see is to take their own life, but that takes a determination by the leaders to put in place training at all levels, from recruit to retiree, addressing how PTSD is real, can be mitigated and must be in the open to deny it power.
There are many positive messages as well, but the mean ones sting, make some of my days long and sleep does not come easily at night. I received this one positive message just last night, when I was particularly low. These are what I try my best to hold in my heart and allow them to lift me back up.

“Terry
I ran across this page while reading about the Moose Jaw Member that presumably took their own life.

I was not in the RCMP, I was with Regina Police Service from 1979 to 1990. It took me over 15 years to realize I was dealing with PTSD and it was this year that I finally began to manage it with some level of success.

I can’t thank you enough for what you are doing here. Back in my time, no one even heard of PTSD. Three of my brother officers, two of them my fellow SWAT team members took their lives during my years of service. Others have since of course and it’s all preventible and more manageable. Thank you for speaking out, standing up, and organizing. You are saving lives.

Thank you

Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness
Hi Terry, You have no idea how much your kind supportive words mean. Thank you so much Sir for them and your service. Lori

Terry
You are very welcome. You’ve been given a calling. An important one. Every bit as great a calling as the one given to those now needing your help. Fight the fight. Take care.”

Thank you for each and everyone of you have take time to support us and families who are hurting with a few kind words and to do what you can to bring change forward.
We will move forward because those that need us to are worth the pain brought on by the few who are scared and ignorant.
What we witness when we are honest about these tragedies is an opening of dialogue, people sharing, reaching out and connecting. Breaking the isolation that leads people down the dark path of PTSD. This openness builds a community of support and understanding, quite the opposite of what these naysayers are depicting.
There is so much work to be done around mental health and none of it can truly happen until we are honest and stop perpetuating the stigma by keeping quiet about the things we don’t want to, or are afraid to, look at.

Lori
Founder of Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness

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

Christmas in Uniform

It’s here again the Christmas season,

Most think that I hate it for no rhyme or reason.

The lights the gifts the glee & song,

Most don’t know how much can go wrong.

 

Children should have happy dreams,

There should be no more horrible screams.

The smiles of those during this hectic pace

Can never cover the terror we must face.

 

We put on this uniform with such pride,

But then we face things we can not hide.

The grief in the street,

Is the evil we must challenge and greet.

 

The shots, the crashes the sudden stoppage of a heart,

Is what truly tears us apart.

I wish I could put these memories away,

And make them never come back on this or any other day.

 

But now it is Christmas and I should smile,

But in reality I would rather walk alone another mile.

Alone with my thoughts, of the past,

I truly wish they would not last.

 

All year they rest on a shelf,

But on this day you can’t help but share them with yourself.

So on this day when you complain that I hate it,

Please just remember that sometimes I can not take it.

 

It is not that I hate this time of year,

But I know what is out there to fear.

When most think of Christmas with hope and with cheer,

I just pray it will be better this year.

 

To each and all in uniform this year,

I hope and pray you no fear.

 

Anonymous

I am the PTSD spouse

I was the one shocked by the diagnosis and completely unprepared.

I was the one who saw the changes in your behavior but wasn’t made aware of PTSD’s existence so I blamed everything on myself. Was it that you didn’t love me anymore?

I was the one who couldn’t scream or even cry because I needed to be strong for my spouse and family.

I was the one who read the therapist’s diagnosis report “Is exhibiting self-defeating behaviours which can include suicide”.

I was the one who was terrified to leave you alone and would sit in the car in the drive way taking one last breath before entering my home in fear of what I might find.

I was the one who watched in disbelief as friends, colleges and even some family turned their back to us in our greatest time of need.

I was the one for whom even the smallest outings stopped or became major affairs.

I was the one who watched for the signs and did my best to prevent or support you through the triggers.

I was the one who became both mom and dad because even our regular daily activities became too much for you to handle.

I was the one who managed the doctor, therapist appointments and medication refills.

I was the one who researched and read all I could so I could stand up for you and get you the support and therapy you deserved.

I was the one who wanted so desperately to be close to you and feel your love but found the medication and your symptoms made this impossible.

I was the one who laid awake at night terrified and wondering if we would make it through another day.

I was the one who silently wondered what happened to the life we once lived, where did it go?

I was the one who saw the glimmers of hope and held onto them tightly so I could lead us forward.

I am the one who loves you with all my heart, will be there for you and my family, I will not back down from this challenge life has dealt us.

By Lori Wilson

Founder of Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness