In announcing the Province’s first Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness Day, Will Bouma, MPP for Brantford-Brant, stated:
Police officers, fire fighters, correctional officers, dispatchers, probation and parole officers, crown attorneys, nurses and other justice sector workers have incredibly difficult jobs and come face to face with difficult situations. That’s why I am proud to have proposed PTSD Awareness Day in Ontario. Our government made a commitment to make mental health a priority. Today is an example of one more way we are supporting Ontarians on their journey towards mental wellness.
In a news release applauding the step, the Police Association of Ontario pointed out that one in five First Responders will develop PTSD in their lifetime and 28 percent of First Responders will have suicidal thoughts in their lifetime. Too often these thoughts are suppressed and ignored with fatal consequences. “Every week at least one of the 73,000 First Responders in this country takes their own life.” In 2018 there were nine police officer suicides in Ontario causing the Chief Coroner of Ontario to comment, “That’s a significant number – greater than we see typically.”
Triggers of PTSD
The PTSD Association of Canada, on its website, says that the trauma can be triggered by large scale ordeals like terrorism attacks or devastating natural disasters or highly personal events like a car accident, losing a job or business, divorce, failing to achieve a goal, loss of a loved one, seeing or hearing of a death, personal injury, childhood trauma, or any other life-altering experience. It describes the three requisites of emotional trauma as:
- It is as unexpected as fog on a clear day.
- It is something you cannot prepare for.
- It is something that you can do nothing to prevent.
Ministry of the Solicitor General (2019,June27) Ontario Recognizing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day for the First Time in the Province’s History [press release]
Photo: Sharon Gardiner