TORONTO, July 16, 2014 /CNW/ - This Friday, July 18th, the 2014 Heroes Are Human Cross-Canada PTSD-Awareness Tour will conclude in Toronto – the last of 48 towns and cities visited across Canada.
This grassroots initiative, developed by Heroes Are Human – The Tema Conter Memorial Trust, was launched in the wake of the many suicides and reports of work-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the ranks of Canada's public safety, correctional and military organizations. Most recently, eleven suicides in the last ten weeks have been reported within Canada's police, EMS and correctional organizations.
"One suicide is too many, but eleven suicides in ten weeks is just a little too much to comprehend," said Heroes Are Human founder and executive director, Vince Savoia. "It is without a doubt a national crisis, and we have to do something about it. This tour might be ending, but our work is just beginning."
The tour team along with Heroes Are Human's national spokesperson and finale emcee, Enrico Colantoni will be brought to the Toronto Police College via motorcade including the Red, White and Blue Knights motorcycle clubs and the OPP Golden Helmets. Media is welcome to follow the motorcade from a meeting point at 12:30pm (7337 Kingston Road, near Port Union and Hwy 401).
"Our Government applauds the exceptional work done by the Tema Conter Memorial Trust," said the tour finale's Guest of Honour, and Toronto's former Chief of Police, Minister Julian Fantino. "The Heroes are Human tour has helped thousands of Canadians, in 48 towns and cities across the country, understand the potentially devastating impact that PTSD can have on the brave men and women serving on our front lines."
A two-hour informational event will begin at 2:00pm, to include words from Minister Fantino, a video message from MPP Cheri DiNovo and a candid speech by MP Rob Clarke - a former RCMP officer who has struggled with PTSD for several years.
"Why is a broken leg considered an injury, but when something goes wrong in our brain, it's questioned? We want to reduce the stigma of mental illness and psychological trauma," said Savoia. "The men and women of Canada's public safety, military and correctional organizations witness human suffering up close and it sometimes becomes very difficult to cope with the aftermath. There is light at the end of that dark tunnel. There is help available, and we want to make sure these men and women – and their families - know where to find it."
Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter kicked off the tour on May 5th in St. John's, Newfoundland as the tour's first speaker. He says he is thrilled to have been invited to speak at the finale. "I hope that by sharing my story, I will be able to encourage others to come forward. Most important, I want them to know that they aren't the only ones going through this - we're all in this together," said MacWhirter, author of A Soldier's Tale: A Newfoundland Soldier in Afghanistan.
Friday's finale is open to anyone who is interested in learning more about operational stress injuries, and is free of charge. Frontline correctional, emergency services, and military personnel, as well as family members and friends, mental health professionals, nurses, physicians, and human resources professionals are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Generous sponsors of this tour include Medavie EMS (Atlantic Canada), Humber College's School of Community & Social Services and School of Health Sciences, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the Ontario Provincial Police Association, the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association, Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia, CUPE 873, InterContinental Hotels Group, and Fines Ford Lincoln Sales.
The finale will be held Friday at the Toronto Police College at 70 Birmingham Street from 2:00-4:00pm, concluding with a social hour sponsored by Hero Certified Burgers and Boston Pizza. Please visit the tour website at 2014heroestour.com and the charity's main website at tema.ca for more information.
A complete digital press kit can be found at: http://www.2014heroestour.ca/#!press/c1y5k
SOURCE: Tema Conter Memorial Trust
For further information: For interviews and more information, please contact: Erin Alvarez, Media and Public Relations, [email protected], 1-888-288-8036 x4, On Twitter: @Erin_Alvarez @TEMATrust