Qualicum Beach council has agreed to support June as Awareness Month for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Mayor Brian Wiese acknowledged council most often discourages proclamations.
But this particular one touched him. On April 7, he asked council to support a request from a resident, Debbie White (whose son has PTSD) to proclaim June as PTSD awareness month. His motion also includes PTSD assessment forms to be made available to all employees and residents via the town’s website and Facebook page. Council unanimously passed the motion.
“This one is close to my heart,” said Wiese, a former firefighter Calgary. “I struggle with some of that early, you know, not so much anymore but I have been through that with the appropriate help.”
Wiese pointed out that PTSD also has been reflected in the Wounded Warriors run, which is not going to happen this year.
“That’s what they’re running for to have access and bring the topic to the forefront,” said Wiese. “People who see tragic and horrible events sometimes have a tough time shaking those.”
Coun. Robert Filmer supported the proclamation and also reminded council that June is also Pride Month.
“I can assure you that I won’t go one over the other,” said Wiese. “There’s no reason we can’t do both.”
Coun. Teunis Westbroek recommended they invite a speaker to talk about PTSD.
“I think that makes it real,” said Westbroek. “Reading a piece of paper with some formal language is one thing. But having someone actually speak to it like you (Wiese) just did, in a very open way, explaining the situation, that you faced, I think that’s the right way to do it. What Coun. Filmer did last year, he spoke from personal perspective. That’s more important and more effective than reading a document.”
Coun. Scott Harrison added the broader issue of mental health is very important in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
“This is a key component as we start seeing a few more people start slipping the cracks and some negative outcomes from opioid epidemic from alcohol-related mortality and self-harm,” said Harrison. “We’re going to have people left behind. And also the first responders have to deal with all that, too. We have to think ahead. So I think raising awareness for this is a good thing.”