BEYOND THE CALL – Vancouver Police helping us raise awareness to PTSD

Today, 3 very special Vancouver Police Officers helped us flip our tire a few more KMs to help raise awareness to PTSD, and inform the public of our petition they can help sign that will give all British Columbian First Responders the help they need upon asking for it.

Instead of the years and YEARS of suffering from denial after denial from WCB.

Just last week, 2 more Police Officers ended their lives with their own service revolver.

see petition on home page –

heres your vid

PTSD and Suicide

Not every call ends when the paperwork is filed. PTSD is far more rampant in law enforcement than anyone is really willing to discuss.

PTSD statistics for law enforcement officers are hard to obtain, but range from 4-14%. The discrepancy in this range may be due to underreporting. Living through a traumatic event is hard enough for an officer, admitting that you are having problems related to that event is even harder. There are an estimated 150,000 officers who have symptoms of PTSD. Actually, recent research indicates that 1/3 of active-duty and retired officers suffer from post-traumatic stress; but most don’t even realize it. Law enforcement officers are also at a much higher rate of developing a cumulative form of PTSD related to their exposure to multiple traumatic events. For every police suicide, almost 1,000 officers continue to work while suffering the painful symptoms of PTSD.

Suicide Warning Signs

The officer is talking about suicide or death, and even glorifying death.
Officer is giving direct verbal cues such as “I wish I were dead” and “I am going to end it all.”
Officer is giving less direct verbal cues, such as “What’s the point of living?”, “Soon you won’t have to worry about me,” and “Who cares if I’m dead, anyway?”
The officer is self-isolating from friends and family.
The officer is expressing the belief that life is meaningless or hopeless.
The officer starts giving away cherished possessions.
The officer is exhibiting a sudden and unexplained improvement in mood after being depressed or withdrawn.
The officer is neglecting his/her appearance and hygiene.
The officer is annoyed that they are going to do something that will ruin his/her career, but that they don’t care.
Officer openly discusses that he/she feels out of control.
The officer displays behavior changes that include appearing hostile, blaming, argumentative, and insubordinate or they appear passive, defeated, and hopeless.
The officer develops a morbid interest in suicide or homicide.
The officer indicates that he/she is overwhelmed and cannot find solutions to his/her problems.
The officer asks another officer to keep his/her weapon.
The officer is acting out of character by inappropriately using or displaying his/her weapon unnecessarily.
The officer exhibits reckless behavior by taking unnecessary risks on the job and/or in his/her personal lives. The officer acts like he/she has a death wish.
The officer carries weapons in a reckless, unsafe manner.
The officer exhibits deteriorating job performance.
The officer has recent issues with alcohol and/or drugs.

Act Now

It is important for law enforcement leaders to identify these warning signs to establish a profile of potential at-risk officers and proactively intervene by providing mental health resources and departmental support. If you, as an officer, have noticed one or more of the above behaviors in a colleague, do something now. Ask the officer what is going on in his/her life. Ask if they are okay and how he/she is handling a current stressor. Ask them if they feel depressed, and ask them about suicidal thoughts. Help them get the help they need before they take a life – their own. If they won’t seek help on their own go to a trusted supervisor with your concerns. Yes, this is one situation where you may have to break the code of silence. If something is still not being done, go to someone else: the chaplain, your union representative, the department clinician. You are willing to go to any lengths for an officer who needs assistance on a call; you are willing to risk your life for him at every scene. Do something today to prevent the loss of an officer by his or her own hands.

If you are an officer who is hurting and contemplating suicide, reach out now. There are many people who really do care about you, who really do want to help you, who don’t want to attend your funeral. Seeking help is a sign of strength not of weakness. It is the first step in reestablishing control in your life. Always remember when there is life there is hope.

Respectfully –

Terrance Joseph Kosikar

CTV NEWS / PTSD AWARENESS – Addiction, and Alcohol Recovery – Together We Can

Watch now – todays CTV news coverage live in English Bay, raising awareness to PTSD / Presumption of Illness petition.

click here

Terrance Joseph Kosikar’s heart rate went up, anxiety levels kicked in full throttle, just before speaking to over 40 men, at the Together We Can Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society yesterday morning.
Kosikar says, “He was so nervous and stressed out due to his insecurities of speaking to more than 4 people at one time.
He felt maybe the people that were listening would get up and walk out of the room, as he knows most of his life people laugh at him behind his back and always says he talks to much.
He sat in a small room, lights off, doing a few breathing exercises to bring his heart rate and mind to a slowed pace, before looking up to his higher power for the strength and confidence to get up and try and inspire and motivate over 40 TRUE WARRIORS who were living in a recovery house taking the proper 1st steps to get there life back on track.
As the room filled , one after another , each man took his seat.
Kosikar says, ” the room just kept filling up, one man after the next, as each warrior took his seat.With each one that sat , Kosikar smiled and knew that his 30 years of suffering was all training JUST FOR THIS MOMENT.
This is his destiny. (more…)

PRESS RELEASE – PTSD AWARENESS – FIRST STEP HOPE

JULY 23 – 24th (11 am start)  ENGLISH BAY –  FIRST STEP HOPE

FORMER BC FIRST RESPONDER RAISING AWARENESS TO PTSD by flipping a 400 pound tractor tire several kilometres while shackled in over 50 pounds of solid steel chain.

On July 23rd- 24th,Terrance Joseph Kosikar will be flipping his tire in English Bay and around the sea wall ( Stanley Park) for another few kilometres to raise awareness to PTSD. By raising awareness about this debilitating mental illness, his hope is to help First Responders suffering from PTSD get the support and treatment they need.

Feb 12, 2016
Kosikar flipped a 400 pound tractor tire 30 kilometres in 30 days through the Cayoosh Mountains of BC wearing 52 pounds of solid steel chain. The symbolism is clear and poignant. The chains of PTSD are invisible but no less constraining and burdensome than steel – and the dead weight of public and bureaucratic misunderstanding and indifference as awkward and unwieldy to move forward as a huge tractor tire.

Upon completing his 30 day journey, he flew to Germany to work closely with the Bad Homburg Fire dept, Police Dept and Paramedics. Germany has no record of any First Responders ending their lives as a result of living with PTSD. In Canada in the last 2 years over 100 First Responders who had been diagnosed with PTSD have died by suicide. Kosikar wanted to know why the statistics are so startlingly different.

While in Germany, he took his tire and chains to a Harley Davidson Magic Bike week motorcycle rally in Ruedesheim and raised awareness to PTSD to over 20 000 bikers and members of NATO / First Responders
Newpaper Germany BLACKUpon arriving back in Canada on July 1st Canada Day, Kosikar took his tire over to the Legislature Building in Victoria BC to inform the public how WCB does not recognize PTSD as a workplace injury and ask them help by signing a petition “Presumption of Illness”. With the help of Victoria Buzz article on this event, so far there are 2400 signatures on the petition in the last 2 weeks.

Petition – https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/bring-presumption-of-illness-for-ptsd-in-public-safety-workers-in-british-columbia

February 12, 2016 marked the 6 year anniversary of the death of Nodar Kumaritshvilli. the Luge athlete killed just before opening ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Kosikar was the First Responder to that fatal accident . Although he was well trained in a myriad of life saving techniques, he was not prepared to deal with the emotional impact sustained when those techniques were not enough. As a result of the fatality, he developed PTSD that launched him into a very costly downward spiral. During several years of severe depression, anxiety, nightmares, and substance abuse, he lost his family, career, and nearly his life.

Your coverage of this event will help raise crucial awareness to PTSD in First Responders, and help Break the Chains of Silence.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

        

For further information, please visit:
Website – http://breakingthechainsbc.com/en_US/
Email – terrance@campmyway.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/tico.griffin
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BreakingTCBC
Sponsors – http://breakingthechainsbc.com/en_US/sponsors/

MEDIA LINKS:

CTV NEWS – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCs-dE4BjSw
Victoria Buzz News – http://victoriabuzz.com/2016/07/man-chains-flipping-tire-legislature-canada-day/
Petition – https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/bring-presumption-of-illness-for-ptsd-in-public-safety-workers-in-british-columbia

Who was the man in chains, flipping a tire at the BC Legislature on Canada Day

Image Colin Smith Photography

Terrance Joseph Kosikar is 43-years-old and lives in the beautiful back-country mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

On the opening day of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, a luge athlete by the name of Nodar Kumaritashvili, was killed during a training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre.

After crashing out of the exit of corner 16, Nodar had left the track clocking over 153 kph, hitting a solid steel post, with his body landing 20 feet away from First Responder Terrance Joseph Kosikar.

After doing CPR for over an hour, there was nothing more medical staff could do for Nodar.

He was pronounced dead and the games went on as if nothing had happened.

A year later Kosikar had quit his job as a medic at the Whistler Sliding Centre, checked into the Vancouver Coastal Health Detox centre and tried to seek help through WCB (Workers Compensation Board) after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Over the next 5 years, Kosikar lost his career as a POC Firefighter, Emergency Medical Responder, and volunteer Ski Patroller. He stopped playing on both of his hockey teams and quit coaching his stepson’s high school basketball team. He struggled with addiction, three attempted suicides, and the loss of his family of 13 years.

Last year, three denials later, after not being able to prove his PTSD was work-related through WCB, and still not getting any help for a wound that was not visible, he was trying to survive homeless and hungry in the Downtown Eastside. Exhausted with life, he found himself on the Lions Gate Bridge ready to jump.

Something within him however stopped him. It got him off the bridge and took him into the backcountry where he struggled for weeks withdrawing from all the medications, away from the distractions and losses he had endured over the years.

Within four weeks of having that personal time to heal, he had never felt better in his entire life. He could finally see straight again and have control over his thoughts and feelings, with a better understanding that everything that had happened had not been his fault. As Kosikar says, “It’s just the way my destiny was written.” He believes that everything that had happened, was to prepare him for this next part of his journey – helping others who live and struggle with PTSD.

Image Colin Smith Photography

Newly healed, Kosikar spent three months without a penny to his name, working hard towards starting a camp for other First Responders who live with PTSD and who may have lost their jobs, their families and are contemplating suicide. A camp that will give them one last chance to get their life back, as he did.

In that three month period Kosikar worked 20 hours per day and raised over $82,000 through sponsorships and ran Phase 1 of Camp My Way.

When Phase 1 of Camp My Way ended last year, Kosikar wanted to do something that would not only bring more awareness to PTSD, but also serve the memory of Olympic Luge Athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili, who had died in his care five years earlier.

On February 12th, 2016, six years to the day that Nodar had passed away, Kosikar started Breaking the Chains BC.

He chose to flip a 400 pound tractor tire 30 kilometers in 30 days, across seven mountains while wearing 52 pounds of solid steel chains.

Image Colin Smith Photography

Kosikar learned that he was truly not alone in the battle with PTSD. In the last two years, over 150 Canadian First Responders have died by suicide. Those numbers are for firefighters, police officers, paramedics and military personnel who had been diagnosed with PTSD.

This number really bothered Kosikar so he decided to fly over to Germany to learn what their suicide rate is for their First Responders. To Kosikar’s suprise, there has not been ONE SINGLE first responder who has taken his or her own life from living with PTSD in Germany.

Why? When a First Responder is diagnosed with PTSD, he or she gets help THAT SAME DAY, no questions asked, no hoops to jump through, no years of trying to prove their PTSD is work-related.

It is presumed that because of the nature of their job – with all that they see and take home with them each day – that their PTSD is work-related and they get the help they need immediately.

Upon learning this one month ago, Kosikar wanted to draw attention to the fact that WCB does NOT recognize PTSD as a workplace injury.

He chose July 1st, Canada Day, to come to the Legislature in Victoria BC to flip his tire while still shackled in over 50 pounds of steel chains, to inform the public of the changes that need to be made and allow people to sign a petition that will try convince the BC government to make changes immediately.

So far over 300 First Responders and members of the public have signed the petition in the last week.

Last year, Alberta, Ontario, and Manitoba First Responders secured the help they need immediately through Worksafe in their provinces.

Yet British Columbia First responder still have to suffer in silence and do NOT get the help they need from WCB.

When we need a firefighter, a paramedic, or a police officer, they come no questions asked. Perhaps it is time they received the help they need after working for us, with no questions asked.

PTSD – Not All Wounds are Visible. A petition to help bring awareness can be signed here.

Click here to learn more about Breaking the Chains.

Update: After reading the story, Scott McCloy, the Media Relations at WorkSafeBC sent Victoria Buzz the following statement:

WorkSafeBC applauds Mr. Kosikar’s hard work and resilience to overcome his many challenges and we wish him every success going forward.  While Mr. Kosikar’s claim for benefits was not accepted, the article mistakenly states that Mr. Kosikar had to prove his case. This is incorrect.  Workers’ compensation in British Columbia is an inquiry-based system in which it is WorkSafeBC’s job to inquire into the circumstances that have led a worker to file a claim for compensation services and to accept a claim where the evidence indicates the injury was caused by their work. In Mr. Kosikar’s case, the claim was not accepted and as the article points out, Mr. Kosikar went to appeal, which also did not find in his favour.  I am precluded from providing further information because it is Mr. Kosikar’s private information; however, I can advise the reviews by WorkSafeBC and the review body were extensive.”

The story also asserted that WorkSafeBC does not accept claims for PTSD, which is also incorrect. WorkSafeBC regularly accepts claims for mental disorders from first responders as well as other workers, and will continue to do so. We know that first responders face single and cumulative trauma incidents and stressors that may impact their mental health at work.  There are a variety of supports in place for psychologically fragile clients, including a centralized mental health clinic in Richmond, with both psychologists and mental health staff on staff, as well as other supports.

While we appreciate McCloy’s response to the story, isn’t this the exact thing Kosikar is fighting back against?

Originally published in Victoria Buzz News – Click here to read original article