Pride Kept Me from Reaching Out for Help

by James “Jimmy” Thomas
Police Officer, Shift Supervisor
Ontario, Canada Provincial Police

**very sensitive material for some readers**

As police officers, we are hired for our Type A personalities. Within the sub-culture, we can quickly believe that we are “invincible” and don’t dare show vulnerability or mental illness. Canadian statistics show that 1 in 5 of us will suffer from a mental illness in our lifetime.

Officer James Thomas

My story isn’t very different from many others in emergency services. Anyone working in the fire, medical, or policing professions will see some horrific sights in their careers. Over time, some may become affected by the jobs that they are entrusted and expected to perform. That doesn’t make them weak or less than anyone else. It makes them human and for reasons yet to be clearly proven; some will become afflicted with an Operational Stress Injury. This is my story and a plea to never allow false pride to keep you from reaching out for help if you need it.

I come from a family of police officers. My father was a police officer in Montreal and my uncle retired as a deputy chief. My brother was a police officer in Belleville. I have been around policing most of my life. I am all too familiar with the “suck it up, buttercup” attitude toward horrible scenes encountered. Continue reading

Stigma and the Elephant in the Room, to the Point of No Return and Back

by Rob Leathen

I went public not for any sympathy and not for any pity but because I firmly believe that silence does nothing but strengthen stigma.

Rob Leathen

Early in February 2019, I knew something wasn’t quite right with me. The continual arguments with my wife, the emotional outbursts, unexpected crying and anger. Anger with everybody and everything led me to the conclusion that I needed help. I started weekly therapy for what was likely PTSD

Stigma? “Screw the stigma,!” I thought. I went public with my PTSD battles. If just one person asked me one question about PTSD or one person reflected on the state of their own mental health or one person already suffering no longer felt alone than my going public was worthwhile. Little did I know my PTSD journey would turn in an unexpected direction. Continue reading