For English-speaking police in Quebec, access to PTSD services is not a guarantee
Aug 26, 2019
La Vigile is a retreat where police, firefighters and first responders can go for extended periods of time for counselling. Bergeron said he's aware of La Vigile, but that it's not accessible to his predominantly English-speaking police force.Cree officer suffers from PTSD, but the only intensive program for police in province is French-only
Harold Bosum in 2012. Bosum says he quit the Eeyou Eenou Police force in 2013 because PTSD symptoms were putting a strain on his family. (Submitted by Harold Bosum)It was constable Harold Bosum's second day on the job working in his home town as an officer with the Eeyou Eenou Police (EEPF), the police force that serves the nine Cree communities in Quebec; the end of an uneventful night shift in the small northern town of Ouje-Bougoumou when he was called to a house at 5 a.m.
Bosum requested an ambulance on his way over and, when he arrived, he found a woman dead at home with her young children, who were upset and scared. Bosum gave the woman CPR until first responders arrived.
"It actually only took the ambulance five minutes to get there from the time I called them, but performing CPR on her felt like forever because I knew she was already gone," Bosum recalls.
At the same time, I had to calm the kids."
In 2012, three months after that incident, Bosum sought help and was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Bosum would experience a numb feeling down one side of his body and he became irritable and bad tempered at home.
"I would get angry with my family. I couldn't be happy anymore, I couldn't enjoy life," Bosum said.
The EEPF referred Bosum to their 1-800 help line, but he found accessing the line more frustrating than helpful.
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