Douglas Institute launches Info-TRAUMA, a tool for victims of traumatic events and healthcare professionals



    In Canada, more than 76% of people have experienced a traumatic event
    that could produce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and some
    800,000 people are currently affected by it

    MONTREAL, May 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Douglas Mental Health University
Insititute today launched Info-TRAUMA (www.info-trauma.org), a unique
reference and diagnostic tool for victims of traumatic events, their loved
ones and healthcare professionals. With this interactive site, the first of
its kind in North America, the Douglas Institute meets a crying need for
information about post-traumatic stress disorder, the prevalance of which is
not well known. A recent study(1) found that in Canada, more than 76% of the
population had experienced at least one traumatic event that could cause
symptoms of PTSD.
    To put the relevance of this interactive tool into context, Professor
Alain Brunet, Ph.D., a psychologist and researcher specializing in PTSD at the
Douglas Institute, presented excerpts from Denis Villeneuve's film
Polytechnique. Attending the screening were actor and producer Karine Vanasse
and actor Sébastien Huberdeau, both of whom portray victims in the film.
    "The events at the Polytechnique galvanized our collective awareness, but
it is important to bear in mind that a wide range of traumatic events make the
headlines every day, to the point that we become inured to them," said Mr.
Brunet. "Traffic accidents, physical assault, incest and natural disasters are
all events that, unfortunately, often result in PTSD, as do major incidents
such as what happened at the Polytechnique. In Canada, 2.4% of people who have
been exposed to a traumatic event show symptoms of PTSD.(2). This is
substantial, because it means that about 800,000 people are affected," he
explained.
    Trauma is a reality that shatters the feelings of invulnerability felt by
most people who have not experienced this type of shock. "What we wanted to do
with the film Polytechnique was to show the diffictulies faced by survivors of
the tragedy," said Ms. Vanasse. "The Info-TRAUMA site is a resource that would
definitely have helped people affected by this tragic event, both the
survivors and their loved ones."
    Professor Brunet and his team hope that Info TRAUMA will become an
indispensable reference in the field of trauma. Their goal is to demysifty
PTSD and help people who are affected by it to put a name to the disorder,
take care of themselves and get help. Along with case studies and references
by country for psychological and legal assistance, Info-TRAUMA also offers a
self-test for victims and their loved ones, and triage and diagnostic kits for
professionals, doctors, nurses, ER personnel and mental health specialists.
The electronic library available on the site also provides access to the
international network of professionals at McGill University, with videos and
factsheets about important concepts in mental trauma, written by researchers
or clinicians with expertise in the concept being presented.
    The creation of the Info-TRAUMA website was made possible in part by
donations from the Douglas Mental Health University Institute Foundation and
the Inukshuk Fund, established by Inukshuk Wireless, a joint venture of Bell
Canada and Rogers Communications.

    Public discussion with Alain Brunet and Karine Vanasse

    As a complement to the launch of Info-TRAUMA, the public is invited to a
special screening of Polytechnique, on Thursday, May 7, at 6 p.m., at Cinéma
du Parc. Following the screening, Karine Vanasse, Alain Brunet and Pascale
Brillon, from the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Montreal's Sacré-Coeur Hospital,
will take part in a discussion on PTSD. The evening will be hosted by Ariane
Edmond, whose background includes working as a journalist at Radio-Canada.
This evening is presented by the Douglas Institute, as part of Frames of Mind.

    About the Douglas Institute - www.douglas.qc.ca

    The Douglas is a world-class institute affiliated with McGill University
and the World Health Organization. It treats patients with mental illnesses
and offers them hope for recovery. Its teams of specialists and researchers
are continually advancing scientific knowledge, integrating it into patient
care and sharing it with the community to raise awareness and destigmatize
mental illness.

    
    ----------------------------
    (1) CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics 14 (2008) 171-181, Post-Traumatic
        Stress Disorder in Canada, Michael Van Ameringen, Catherine Mancini,
        Beth Patterson & Michael H. Boyle.

    (2) Ibid.
    




For further information:

For further information: Info-TRAUMA: Anik Le Marquand, (514) 843-2342,
Cell: (514) 502-0578; Frames of Mind: Marie France Coutu, (514) 761-6131, ext.
2769, Cell: (514) 835-3236; Media Access:
ftp://ftp.national.ca/medias/Douglas/, Username: presse, Password: media

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