Veterans gather across Canada to raise awareness of suicide and prevent PTSD
CALGARY – Canadians in 10 communities across the country will be participating in an annual event aimed at raising awareness of the challenges faced by veterans through their own battles with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Canadian Walk for Veterans is now in its second year and aims to help prevent suicide among members of Canada's armed forces by recognizing that many veterans and first responders are in need of help.
"Their time in service protecting our freedom and way of life exposes them to traumatic events and many suffer from debilitating PTSD that can lead to thoughts of suicide," a release from the organization says.
Calgary's event begins at 9 a.m. at North Glenmore Park, located at 7305 Crowchild Trail S.W.
John Stegmeier, a team lead with the organization, says there has been a rise in suicides amongst members of the armed forces since Canada's return from Afghanistan but the issues are much more pervasive.
"Not only those veterans, but veterans from previous operations all the way through the Cold War. It affects all of us in our society and veterans are a slice of society."
He also wants people to know that veterans are from all walks of life as well.
"Every day veterans are in our society. We're mechanics, we're truck drivers, we're executives, we're news reporters, we're everything. But many people don't know us outside of Remembrance Day when they see us with a beret on and a chest full of medals."
Similar events will be taking place in Edmonton, Vancouver, Courtenay, Ottawa, Barrie, Kingston, Philipsburg, Moncton and Charlottetown.
Registration is $25 per participant and all of the profits will go towards supporting a number of veterans organizations across Canada.