EDITORIAL: Keep the PTSD conversation going

Wounded Warrior Run B.C. winds up its fourth annual awareness relay down Vancouver Island

Participants in the fourth annual Wounded Warrior B.C. Run wound up their week-long journey in Langford on Sunday. But they were not alone as they approached the Royal Canadian Legion.

West Shore firefighters, police officers, paramedics, athletes escorted them home on the final leg of the route, while other members of the community lined the streets in support of the team.

It was a great reminder of the sacrifices made by those who serve our country and keep our communities safe. Their efforts, and the rigours and stressors of their jobs, can often be overlooked, so we owe it to them to keep going the conversations inspired by the Wounded Warrior B.C. Run.

Every year the run grows, bringing more attention to the plight of those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD can tear apart households and destroy families and its impact can spill into the greater community.

Unlike broken bones or other more visible injuries, there is no easy fix or bandage to heal these internal wounds. Many who suffer don’t know how or aren’t comfortable asking for help, so it’s important that communities build support networks to help catch those that fall and recognize the warning signs.

Great strides have been made in recent years by groups and organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Run B.C. in emphasizing the need for more research and supports. They have also come a long way in shining a light on what was once a taboo subject for the military.

But it’s not just our military members that have to worry about PTSD and other operational stress injuries – firefighters, police, paramedics and others protecting our communities are also at risk, as are those who have suffered or witnessed ongoing physical or mental abuse. We owe it to them all to take notice when their behaviours might indicate they may be hurting inside.

If you or someone you love is serving our country or our communities, or are perhaps a victim of trauma, try to recognize the signs and find out where to get help.

No one should have to suffer on their own in silence.