News

Today is Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving that affords people all around the world the chance to support a charity or non-profit that’s important to them. While there are so many great organizations to support today, and every day, here’s 25 reasons we would love your support.

  1. We support all people affected by trauma, either first-hand or as support people. Trauma affects everyone.
  2. Canada has the highest rate of PTSD in the world, with over 9 per cent of the population developing PTSD over a lifetime. Keep in mind, that not everyone who suffers trauma will develop PTSD, but this is still a staggering number.
  3. Vicarious trauma from PTSD can be passed from parent to child or from client to trauma worker, which is why we also work with therapists, first-responders, teachers and more.
  4. PTSD affects twice as many women as men.
  5. Sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than other traumas. In Canada, 1 in 3 people suffers unwanted sexual contact.
  6. Our mindfulness journal is an easy way to support us and give to yourself in the process; journaling and writing are incredible tools in the healing process.
  7. Our Therapy Grant Program allows trauma survivors to access high-quality trauma therapy with trauma-trained and certified psychologists.
  8. For our Therapy Grant Program, we pay our trauma psychologists their regular rate, in order to ensure the utmost quality treatment for our clients, and support these amazing people in the work that they do.
  9. But demand is huge for our Therapy Grant Program. In fact, we have nearly 20 people on a waiting list who are desperately seeking the help they deserve.
  10. Therapy Grant recipient: “If I were to compare where I am at after eight months of involvement with BFF, I would say that I have really started to step up into being more of who I truly am. I have started to love myself much more than I could have ever imagined before. I know I have value now, and I know that what I have to say matters. I now know that I am worthy, and I am so blessed to be able to share energy and a safe space with other people like me.”
  11. Christine Littman: “The cost of proper trauma therapy can be overwhelming and unattainable, making it easy for a person to delay or avoid seeking treatment altogether. Mental health, when ignored or denied, can lead to many other physical and mental issues. To those of us who are just beginning our journey of healing, knowing where and how to start can be an overwhelming and intimidating process. The guidance and direction that the Breaking Free Foundation provides is crucial in helping a person take the first step. A step that can easily be abandoned if trying to face it alone.” 
  12. Our Monthly Meet-ups are a free place for trauma survivors and their supporters to come and talk about anything related to trauma—mental health, addiction, you name it.
  13. We have requests from people in Ontario, Northwest Territories and Manitoba to expand our Meet-up program, and we are working on getting this done!
  14. We are in the process of getting our charitable status, but in the meantime, we work so hard for every dollar we receive. Right now, donations are crucial to our survival.
  15. You can be part of our “me too” movement and support us at the same time by purchasing our “me too” bracelet, designed by Drops of Gratitude in Calgary.
  16. Our annual Victor Walk is a national initiative to raise awareness about childhood rape, and give a voice to those affected by this epidemic. We hope to turn every victim into a Victor.
  17. 32 per cent of Canadians [have] experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, exposure to intimate partner violence or a combination of these while they were young.
  18. Do you know someone suffering from addiction? Trauma is at the root of addiction.
  19. Do you know someone suffering from depression, anxiety or mental health conditions? Trauma is at the root of mental health problems.
  20. People who suffer from social, economic or educational disadvantage or racism within a given country are more likely to get PTSD than those who don’t.
  21. Did you know 52 first-responders have committed suicide this year so far in Canada? It’s true. This demographic is particularly vulnerable to the effects of PTSD.
  22. EMDR is an incredibly effective therapy treatment for PTSD, but it is expensive, that’s why our Therapy Grant Program is so important.
  23. Every dollar we receive is helping someone dealing with the effects of trauma. We have one employee, our incredible Executive Director, Shandra Carlson. Because of this, a lot of work we do is facilitated by volunteers, so your dollar is really being put to work at BFF!
  24. Someone you know is suffering from PTSD or the lingering effects of trauma.
  25. You can make a difference in someone’s life.

By definition, trauma is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience, a definition that natural disasters fits right into. When Mother Nature’s wrath wreaks havoc, it can take both a physical and psychological toll that is widespread. Alberta is no stranger to the trauma left by natural disasters, the floods of 2013 left a huge path of destruction, and now thousands of people are dealing with the ongoing trauma of the fires burning in Fort McMurray this week.

Individuals who survive trauma, or are exposed to it in some way can develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and it can have a damaging effect both physically and mentally. Besides the people being evacuated, first-responders are also at huge risk to develop symptoms of PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Flashbacks, or reliving the trauma
  • Nightmares
  • Intense fear
  • Avoidance
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Guilt, worry or depression
  • Difficulty remembering the trauma
  • Hyperarousal
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Severe emotional distress

It’s difficult to determine when those symptoms will arise, some people feel fine at first only to develop PTSD later on. In general, survivors of natural disasters are recommended to seek professional help if they find they continue to suffer from the effects of PTSD for more than a month. 

If you are dealing with the trauma of a natural disaster, immediate mental health resources are available in Alberta via CMHA Calgary. If you want to speak to a trauma-specialized therapist to deal with your PTSD or trauma symptoms, please check out our free Therapy Grant programIf you want to help with the fire relief in Fort McMurray, donate to the Red Cross.

Keep in touch with us on Twitter or Facebook to learn more about trauma, the effects of trauma and how to cope with PTSD.

— Written by Amber Craig, BFF Chair 
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