PTSD 'really brought me to my knees,' says Major Réjean Richard
Canadian Forces major is a human 'book' in this year's Human Library event on Feb. 27
Maj. Réjean Richard is doing what he can to convince members of the Canadian Forces to get the help they need if they suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
He shares his story about coping with PTSD after a gruesome event in Somalia in the early 1990s.
"I had to do first aid on two young boys that were playing with a grenade," he said. "I was first on scene, and then a medic joined me, and we transported them to the nearest hospital, which took about an hour and a half."
"Unfortunately I was never able to get that out of my mind. I basically covered it for almost 20 years until it really brought me to my knees, and I finally decided to get help."
'You have to get it fixed'
Richard says it took him so long to get help because of the stigma around mental health among military members. "If you showed that you couldn't handle the traumatic stress, you were considered weak," he added.
But now, he's pleased to see attitudes are changing, from military leadership on down.
"Finally people are saying mental health... is no different than breaking a leg or breaking an arm," he said. "You have to get it fixed."
Richard will discuss his experience with PTSD as a member of the Canadian Forces at this year's Human Library, presented by CBC Ottawa and the Ottawa Public Library on Feb. 27.