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Did you know that today is First Responders Day in Ontario?

My name is Sgt. Brent MacIntyre and I am the Peer Support Coordinator for the Ottawa Police Service (OPS). My job with the OPS is to connect with members who are going through a trying personal or professional life event and to coordinate resources for them which may assist them through their journey. My role is actually very simple: I listen and acknowledge the validity of some really difficult life challenges. While I don’t pretend to have the answers or the ability to provide solutions to very complex problems, I do know how to listen and how to provide guidance to people to help them find some semblance of stability when their life starts to spin out of control. I pride myself on not passing judgment on these situations; rather, I try to provide an open and honest atmosphere where members can unload some of their darkest secrets off their chest. I help coordinate a peer-to-peer program, provide resources for members, and seek out innovative programs that my members can access, including Camp Aftermath.

Sgt. Brent MacIntyre with Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly, receiving his 20 year service medal.

Camp Aftermath is a CRA-certified charity with a volunteer Board of Directors whose sole purpose is to help military members, veterans, and first responders living

Sgt. Brent MacIntyre along with his fellow peer support coordinators, Lorraine Downey (Ottawa Paramedic Service) and Al Pellograms (Ottawa Fire Services).

with PTSD/operational stress injuries (OSI) through an evidence-based, highly agile, member-focused peer-to-peer program. I believe in this charity because it focuses on the needs of the participants while utilizing clinical oversight. Participants in Camp Aftermath are military and first responders who are typically mission-focused people who can see practical objectives, and through the program learn how to open up about their lived experience with fellow members. This is the power of peer-to-peer programs in action.

Camp Aftermath is a tangible program that is accessible to all serving military members, veterans, and first responders living with PTSD/OSI. It has a proven track record of positive results and should be seriously discussed with your mental health professional to determine if this program is right for you. Given that those in the military and first responders are four times more likely to develop a mental illness over the course of their lifetime, and two to three times more likely to develop PTSD/OSI, we need to start focusing on programs that think outside the box, such as Camp Aftermath. Camp Aftermath’s one year, three-phase program is predicated on volunteerism, which is unique in the field of treatment for PTSD/OSI.

If we start to look at different types of programs to help those living with PTSD/OSI, we will start responding to what military members, veterans, and first responders are actually asking for. We will be responding to their needs with programs that have proven results, and which come at a fraction of the costs of traditional therapies. This is not pie in the sky; this is not a theoretical notion of what a couple of people think may help members. This is where theory meets action and where therapies see proven, tangible results in real-time.

For more information on Camp Aftermath, or to see if this program might be right for you, check out this link.

Sgt. Brent MacIntyre previously served in the Canadian Armed Forces and has been a police officer in Ottawa for over 20 years. He is also a member of Camp Aftermath’s Advisory Committee.

How you can help

There are currently many amazing programs that focus on helping veterans and first responders suffering living with PTSD and operational stress injuries (OSI). If you believe in our cause, please help us make a difference in the lives of five military veterans and first responders slated to experience our three-phased program in early 2021. You can donate to our campaign on Canada Helps.