Having PTSD is not a “Fireable” Offense!

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

In the past couple of weeks, Nathalie Michaud has courageously shared her story as a firefighter who’s struggling to 20151110_Michaud Helmet shotlearn how to live with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) triggered by her discovery that her Fire Chief–and new husband of six months–had committed suicide at their fire station.

In the next installment, she described her descent into a deep depression that ultimately had her sitting in her truck on the tracks at a railroad crossing waiting for a train to come along and end her life. Fortunately, the train didn’t come and with help and guidance from a friendship formed from one side of Canada to the other Nathalie has made great strides in her journey to live a life with PTSD.

Nathalie now faces an equally daunting challenge. With a determination to not see anyone else have to go through

Nathalie Michaud with her "buddy", Wayne Jasper, who has helped her through the darkest times of PTSD--from across Canada.

Nathalie Michaud with her “buddy” who has helped her through the darkest times of PTSD–from across Canada.

the struggles surrounding PTSD, Nathalie decided to speak out about her experience and with her friend and fellow firefighter Wayne Jasper, put together “PTSD – The Real Impact”, a presentation they have delivered together across the Canada to bring a true awareness of the realities of PTSD within the emergency services community.

With a clearance from the doctors and a personal determination to return to work earlier this year, things were looking up for Nathalie until her employer decided they did not want to risk taking her back and abruptly terminated her employment cutting off all income and support. How shameful is that?

Look over at the right-hand menu on this blog page and you’ll see a fundraising PTSD Poster 1effort being coordinated by that friend, Wayne Jasper, through the on-line crowd sourcing site, YouCaring. I encourage you to read the full story on the YouCaring website and show your support for Nathalie and the struggles she’s enduring as she not only learns to live with PTSD, but now also overcome the financial burdens placed upon her by this heartless action by a fire department or local government or both who won’t take care of one of their own.

Please give what you can. Just as importantly, share this blog and the YouCaring link across social media and show Nathalie that WE CARE.

About Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer

Battalion Chief (Ret.) Robert Avsec served with the men and women of the Chesterfield County (VA) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years. He’s now using his acquired knowledge, skills, and experiences as a freelance writer for FireRescue1.com and as the “blogger in chief” for this blog. Chief Avsec makes his home in Cross Lanes, WV. Contact him via e-mail, [email protected].