British Columbia

RCMP officer set to walk Okanagan Rail Trail for 60 hours for PTSD awareness

A Vernon RCMP officer will kick off a 239 kilometre-long walk on Sunday ⁠— all to raise awareness about PTSD among first responders.

Vernon RCMP officer begins 239 km trek Oct. 6

Sgt. Rob Farrer will walk along the Okanagan Rail Trail on a trip from Vernon to Lake Country and back he's estimating will take about 60 hours. (Vernon North Okanagan RCMP)

A Vernon RCMP officer will kick off a 239 kilometre-long walk on Sunday ⁠— all to raise awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among first responders.

Sgt. Rob Farrer will walk along the Okanagan Rail Trail on a trip from Vernon to Lake Country and back he's estimating will take about 60 hours

He's also raising money for a service dog from the program Courageous Companions to aid either police officers or military personnel who struggle with PTSD or occupational stress injuries (OSI). 

It costs $20,000 to train a service dog, according to Farrer. 

"The people that do suffer from PTSD, for some of them, it's day in and day out. So, I will think of some of the people I know personally who have taken their own lives," Farrer told Sarah Penton, the host of CBC's Radio West

Farrer has been with the RCMP for 19 years and says he has been affected personally by PTSD, as have some of his friends.

"I've known a number of members who have taken their own lives. I know some personally, a number of colleagues who have had PTSD quite bad ... some have had to retire."

Stigma

Farrer hopes his long walk with help fight the stigma around PTSD and encourage those battling it to seek mental health help. He wants young police members in particular to understand not dealing with the problem and toughing it out is not the answer. 

"Some of the things we see are not normal. And you see it over and over. It might be a single incident that's just horrific and just doesn't get out of your mind."

During the walk, Farrer will have friends bring him supplies when he needs them. So far, Farrer's GoFundMe campaign has raised $4,300 of his $20,000 goal. 

With files from Radio West

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