On May 14th, the Heroes are Human Tour 2014, set to visit 48 towns and cities across Canada, came to Charlottetown. Tour speaker Vince Savioa shared his own experience with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) following a critical incident as a paramedic and identified the barriers that those suffering from it overcome before they are ready to ask for the help they need. He talked about how important it is for us to create a culture where it is acceptable to talk, be trained and informed about PTSD and to find the support that those in professions that have a higher chance of experiencing a critical incident, cumulative stress or compassion fatigue need in their work.
Vince emphasized the importance of a support network to talk with leading up to stressful situations, during a critical time and immediately following, all of which can reduce more serious symptoms. If left untreated, the challenges can become more encompassing e.g. lost time at work/losing job, strained family relationships and deteriorating health. One of Vince’s main messages for the large turnout at MacDougall Hall lecture hall was to see ourselves as heroes that are every bit human, and, as humans, we must be as kind to ourselves as we are to those we serve. To seek the help we need could very well make the difference in a colleague’s decision to seek help. The more we can look after ourselves, the better we can look after others. You can follow news and read stories about the tour here.
The featured local speaker was John MacDonald from Rice Point, PEI, who said his 24-year army professional experience could not have prepared him for the day that he and a team of civilian search and rescuers were taken by helicopter to Pearl Island off Peggy’s Cove to gather debris and evidence following the crash of Swiss Air Flight 111. As he recounted, that one day changed him forever, and he took 14 years to finally seek the help he so desperately needed. He wants us to know that it is important to understand what we need to deal with a critical trauma and not to deprive ourselves of this knowledge. “Break the Stigma” and know the factors and incidents that can cause PTSD, the signs you could have it, where you can find help and take action to seek help early on before you experience more serious after effects. He said that speaking to the group was good therapy for him and he strongly encouraged anyone who thinks they may have symptoms of PTSD to reach out and get help now.
If you would like to speak privately to someone about any symptoms you may be experiencing around PTSD, please contact us. We have gathered a team of professionals that will help you find the exact help you need and deserve.