End of Watch Sergeant Léo Girouard

We write this note with heavy hearts, we have lost another RCMP member, Sergeant Léo Girouard who lost his battle with an OSI, Thursday July 2nd, 2015.

Our hearts go out to Léo who struggled for so long, his family who journeyed with him, and all those who knew, worked with and loved him, all of whom are struggling to deal with the aftermath of this tragedy.

Please know that we at Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness are devastated and are working tirelessly to do all we can to stop these tragedies from occurring.

We send a plea to each and every one of you to reach out to those who are retired or those you know are struggling with PTSD or an OSI, to both the members and their families, and let them know they are not alone, that you care, we care and we are all here for each other.

RIP Sergeant – You and your contribution to Canada and society will not be forgotten.

Leo Girouard

PTSD a treatable injury, says recovering Saskatchewan Mountie

For those who care

A Saskatchewan Mountie, who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), wants other first responders to see it is an injury, not a death sentence.

Const. Ariane Muirhead is organizing a charity golf event this Saturday in Fort Qu’Appelle to raise awareness and money for first responders struggling with PTSD.

She was diagnosed with the illness in 2010, after responding to a particularly traumatic incident.

“I would describe it for myself almost like having a monster living inside your head,” Muirhead told CBC Morning Editionhost Stefani Langenegger.

Ariane Muirhead PTSD RCMP 3

Const. Ariane Muirhead (right), with her father Robert Muirhead (left), joined the RCMP in 2009. (Ariane Muirhead)

“Sort of a monster inside there telling you you’re weak and pathetic, and you’re supposed to be out helping the public and you’re at home being paid to do nothing.”

The symptoms started in late 2012 with flashbacks, trouble sleeping and anger. That eventually led to alcohol and prescription morphine abuse.

“It got to a point where there were a few occasions where I was ready to end my life,” said Muirhead.

Her family, friends and colleagues noticed something was wrong before she did.

“I remember my mom saying, ‘Who are you? You’re not the same person you were a few years ago.'”

Finally, she approached the RCMP’s employee assistance program and described the guilt and grief she was experiencing over the incident to a member.

He referred her to a psychologist who diagnosed Muirhead with PTSD.

At first she was embarrassed to tell her supervisor and colleagues because of the stigma connected to mental illness, but she realized it was important that they knew.

Eventually, with help, Muirhead was able to get better.

“I will always have PTSD, but I now have the knowledge and the skills to be able to deal with a trigger — to be able to deal with something that causes some of those emotions and know that it’s okay.”

Raising awareness for first responders living with PTSD

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Const. Ariane Muirhead is working to spread awareness about PTSD and the impact it has on first responders. (RCMP)

Now she works to raise public awareness about the illness and the supports that are available to those living with it.

“I think we need people to understand — the public and the PTSD organizations — we need to let them know that this is something that can happen, that it is okay, that it is an injury, that you’re no different then someone who has been stabbed or hit by a car.”

She has organized a First Responder PTSD Awareness’ charity golf tournament at Echo Ridge golf course this Saturday.

Representatives of the military, navy, RCMP, EMS and the Fort Qu’Appelle fire department who have PTSD will be there to speak about their experiences.

Members of the public, who are not golfing, are also invited to attend the event and join in on the conversation.

“The 100 per cent goal? [I] do not want to see anymore first responders lose their lives to this illness— an injury that is very treatable.”

First Responder walk for PTSD, Cst. Ariane Muirhead’s family walks in support of her.

From the First Responder walk for PTSD in Halifax, Cst. Ariane Muirhead’s family walks in support of her.

Bobbie-Lynn Muirhead was there to show her support of her sister, who is an RCMP officer.

“Her whole life (she) wanted to be an RCMP officer. She had some PTSD-related issues and she’s still with the force so we’re here in support of her” she said.

Muirhead said she hopes the Halifax community recognizes how serious the condition is.

“It’s a real thing. These people are putting their lives on the line every day and it does affect them“She said.


There is an attitude out there that “He signed up for this”. No, No he did not

This week my spouse and I are preparing ourselves for the second regimental funeral in 5 months. We know in advance that this will triggering for him. We are already trying to get his family organized (like herding cats) and ready for the chaos of the day. His brother, who is EPS, cannot attend b/c he’s on course in Ottawa, which adds to his anxiety.

There is an attitude out there that “he signed up for this”. No, No he did not. He did not sign up for this. He signed up for making a difference in the world. He signed up because of his deep rooted patriotism and desire to serve and protect his community and his country. When he graduated, his trainer said that he had never even drawn his gun. He’d certainly never been drawn down on! I was told we never speak of accidents or shootings. It was as though I would jinx the whole thing. I was told I didn’t need to know, because it would never happen.

Two years after graduating the sergeant came knocking on my door. By the grace of God my husband was alive but I was not prepared. I was so shocked and caught off guard. This will be our ninth regimental funeral. Nope, we did not sign up for this.

When he was diagnosed with PTSD 18 years ago, we had no clue what that meant. Now I do. I know that going to this funeral will trigger him and we will spend the next three weeks getting him back on track. We already have an appointment made with the therapist. But this is what we do to honor those who fall. The esprit de corps and camaraderie that will fill the streets on Wednesday will remain with us and keep us going.

I’m so grateful to the people who’ve reached out to us to ask if we’re ok. We don’t have to justify our grief to them. They don’t ask us if we knew Cst. Woodall. They know it’s irrelevant. They’re all brothers and sisters and they all mourn each other equally. Hopefully this will be the last funeral regimental we will ever have to attend.

From a member of our admin team here at Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness