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PTSD: Looking Forward; Looking Back

Every day, first responders are putting their lives at risk to answer the cries for help of others, but the consequences are staggering. When there is a crisis, most people run away, but first responders are the first to run in.

Approximately 20% of all first-responders face Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) at some point in their careers. PTSD is a mental illness that involves reliving a psychologically traumatic situation long after any physical danger involved has passed. First responders have become so used to responding to cries for help that they often ignore their own.

Presented by the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Alberta. We were pleased to present Col. Rakesh Jetly, OMM, CD, MD, FRCP(C), Senior Psychiatrist for the Canadian Armed Forces & Mental Health Clinical Advisor to the Canadian Forces Surgeon General as our keynote speaker, where his focus was on understanding historic lessons learned regarding trauma and stress in the military. The topic of his presentation was: “A Century After the Great War: Mental Health Lessons Learned by the Canadian Armed Forces”.

The event celebrated innovation and research in rehabilitation medicine and mental health, particularly with respect to PTSD experienced by first responders.  An interactive poster symposium was held after the breakfast, as well as a "master class" session, where local experts, stakeholders and practitioners collaborated with the keynote speaker to address regional impacts and action items emerging from the keynote address.

Research Poster Symposium

The poster symposium provided a great opportunity for the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and the University of Alberta to celebrate and showcase successes and achievements in cutting edge research within health sciences, rehabilitation medicine and mental health.  Researchers, students, healthcare providers and first responders were able to discuss their work with community members, and stimulate discussions of recent advances made, challenges faced and experiences gained, as well as network with colleagues and the public.