Sask. clothing brand partners with firefighters to raise money for mental health
SASKATOON -- Cody Demerais says talking about his past experiences has helped improve his mental health.
He’s been vocal about his struggles with mental health and shares his personal journey with youth at schools and various speaking engagements to encourage others to seek out counselling and other supports they need to live better lives.
He says he lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He talks about his past which includes a bad car accident, addictions and says when he was 18-years-old he tried to take his own life.
“I definitely believe when you carry something traumatic, like a situation that happened in your life that was very upsetting and very disturbing, and if you keep it to yourself, it holds the power over you, a power that is stronger than you know,” Demerais says.
Demerais says his life improved since he got some help. Today, he’s the owner of Limitless Gear Clothing.
When the Prince Albert Firefighters Charity asked him to support a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association he knew he wanted to help.
All of the proceeds from specially printed t-shirt sales go to the Canadian Mental Health Association. It’s one place in Prince Albert the people can turn to for help with mental health.
PTSD is also something that many first responders struggle with, Graham Pederson from the Prince Albert Firefighters Association says. That’s why the association chose to support the Canadian Mental Health Association.
A support group has been set-up specifically for first responders struggling with past traumatic experiences says organizer Michelle McKeaveney.
“It gives them an opportunity to gather in one space and realize that they're not alone,” McKeaveney said.
The group is called What's Important Now or W.I.N. and is for correction workers, police, fire, EMT’s military, social workers, crisis workers, doctors and nurses.
“The hardest part is to walk through the door to come in. Then we have a list of vetted resources within Prince Albert and other communities of professionals,” says McKeaveney.
In Prince Albert, there are two peer support networks for PTSD, one focused on helping first responders and another group for non-uniformed persons.
Persons involved with the PTSD support group are also fundraising to build the River Valley Resilience Retreat for persons with PTSD.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, here are some resources that are available:
Canada Suicide Prevention Helpline (1-833-456-4566)
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (1 800 463-2338)
Crisis Services Canada (1-833-456-4566 or text 45645)
Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868)
If you need immediate assistance call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.