This special Bell Lets Talk Day blog spotlights one of 150 stories RCMP Members shared in “Why We Serve: Stories of Today’s RCMP Members”
Police officers are more likely to experience traumatic events than the general population. On average, most people experience eight to 10 traumatic events in their life, compared to 800 to 1,000 traumatic events police experience in their career (Carleton et al, 2018). As a 17-year RCMP Member, Josh is no stranger to how policing and trauma intersect.
It took time for Josh to realize the effect his career was having on him. He started to withdraw from friends and family and wasn’t finding joy in his day-to-day life. It became clear that Josh needed support and help, and he took the important first step in reaching out for assistance. Initially, it was hard to believe that things could improve, but according to Josh: “Things do get better. If someone told me years ago that I’d be feeling better, there’s no chance I’d believe them.”
“Things do get better. If someone told me years ago that I’d be feeling better, there’s no chance I’d believe them.”Josh Coles
Healing takes time and talk, and is a different process for everyone. As Josh describes, “Progress is non-linear, but I committed myself to the process and did a lot of work with the support of those around me.”
After seeking support through several avenues, working with mental health professionals, and learning the practice of meditation – one of the consistent aspects aiding his recovery – Josh overcame the impacts of trauma, and is now back serving his community.
A final piece of wisdom that helps Josh reframe his view of traumatic events involves self-reflection. He reminds himself daily that, “It’s OK to look back…just don’t stare.”
We thank Members like Josh, who have courageously shared their stories to shed light on the mental health crisis among our Members and all first responders.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, you are not alone. Please visit: https://cmha.ca/find-help/if-you-are-in-crisis/
- Carleton RN, Afifi TO, Turner S, et al. Mental Disorder Symptoms among Public Safety Personnel in Canada. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2018;63(1):54-64.