The alarming rise in suicides among first responders living with PTSD in BC has opened a window into the real lives of those men and women.
This weekend in Nanaimo a first of its kind event in BC is connecting everyone from RCMP to 911 dispatchers with the healing power of horses, to bring them back from the brink.
Deanna Lennox knows first hand the pain of living with PTSD. After retiring from the RCMP in 2013, she found herself struggling to cope with life on the outside after decades on the front lines
“You know I struggled with depression and PTSD,” says Lennox. “There was times when I thought I was going to lose my life at the hands of another, there were the next of kin notifications were exceptionally difficult. ”
Her only refuge from it was her horse’s paddock. Where she says she realized the non-judgmental nature of horses which are a prey animal could offer front line workers who are often stuck in predator mode, a great release.
So she founded War Horse Awareness Foundation and now holds events to offer first responders suffering with PTSD a new lead on life, through guided sessions and therapy with horses.
“When it’s difficult for us to be vulnerable and trust, just moving that one inch towards trusting is tremendous,” says “Josie” a participant in the weekend event.
Connections that Lennox says she’s watched over and over at War Horse sessions.
“Yeah. It gives me goosebumps. It gives me goosebumps. There is no substitute for hope,” says Lennox.
This weekend event in Nanaimo is a first in BC. 19 First Responders committed suicide in this province in 2016. So Lennox, is hoping sessions like this will save lives, of those risking so much for the rest of us.