The Province of Ontario and the City of Brantford Proclaim June 27th as PTSD Awareness Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 27, 2019

The Province of Ontario and the City of Brantford Proclaim June 27th as PTSD Awareness Day

Ontario is only the second province to formally recognize this debilitating disorder

BRANTFORD — Ontario’s flag was raised in commemoration of the Province’s first ever-official PTSD Awareness Day at Brantford City Hall today. The PTSD Awareness Day was a private member’s bill authored by Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma that became law as part of the budget that was passed by the Ontario Legislature on May 29, 2019.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after a person has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. It causes intense fear, helplessness or horror. The symptoms of PTSD often surface within three months of the traumatic event that caused it but can also surface years later.

“We are all broken people and we are all affected by trauma in different ways,” said MPP Will Bouma. ” We have come so far with the recognition and treatment of PTSD, but we still have a long way to go to break the stigma and make it normal to talk about it. I trust that something as small as recognizing a day on the calendar every year will help.”

PTSD has become a global health issue and the prevalence of it is gaining awareness. In Canada, between 1.1 and 3.5 per cent of the general population is thought to have PTSD. In 2016, Ontario amended the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, 1997 to presume that PTSD is a workplace injury among first responders if it arises out of and in the course of the worker’s employment.

“We applaud MPP Will Bouma and all those involved for their efforts in bringing the very important topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the forefront,” said Lill Petrella, Team Lead, Mental Health Promotion and Education Canadian Mental Health Association, Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Branch. “PTSD Awareness Day in Ontario is extremely significant, in that it acknowledges this very real disorder, addresses the stigma surrounding it, and encourages persons who may be living with PTSD to seek the assistance available to them.”

Military personnel, emergency personnel, rescue workers, first responders, journalists and families of victims are particularly at risk, although PTSD can affect anyone, regardless of socio-economic status, gender, age, nationality or vocation.

“First Responders and military personnel are exposed to traumatic incidents every day”. Said Brantford Fire Chief Shane Caskanette. “These traumatic events effect the lives of those involved as well as those responding to help. PTSD Awareness Day helps raise awareness, increases understanding and reduces the stigma associated with PTSD which is the first step in supporting our military and first responders struggling with PTSD”.

“I would like to extend my thanks and congratulations to MPP Bouma, on having June 27 proclaimed PTSD Awareness day”, said Brantford Police Chief Geoffrey Nelson. “MPP Bouma and I have had many conversations around this subject, and we share the same goal of keeping our first responders safe and ensuring that appropriate supports are in place to assist those who are injured.” Chief Nelson continued, “Today (PTSD Awareness Day) is not just about acknowledging the risks that first responders face; it’s about taking another step forward in eliminating the stigma associated with psychological injuries. Once the stigma is removed, so too are the barriers to seek support, access treatment and remain healthy. With the stigma removed and proper supports in place, first responders will be able to remain healthy throughout their careers and continue to do what we love to do – proudly serve our communities.”

“PTSD Awareness Day ceremony will be a rotating location within the riding – between the City of Brantford, County of Brant and Six Nations of the Grand River” said MPP Will Bouma. “We are already looking forward to next year’s commemoration and a huge thank you to County of Brant Council for passing unanimously the motion to hold this event in the County on June 27th 2020.”

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For more information, contact MPP Will Bouma at 519-759-0361 or will.bouma@pc.ola.org