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Firefighters join in awareness campaign for post-traumatic stress disorder


Three career members of the Stephenville Fire Department are doing their part to bring attention to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) through an awareness campaign.

The campaign involves doing 22 pushups for 22 days on a social media site.

One of the three firefighters, Nigel Pike, is doing those pushups on a daily basis on Facebook.

The American military started the campaign because it loses an average of 22 veterans to suicide brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder each day.

Andrew Pilgrim, president of the Stephenville Fire Department Local 1852 of the International Association of Firefighters, was the first to take on the challenge and brought it forward to two fellow union members, including Pike and Maria Churchill.

Pilgrim said since the U.S. military started the awareness campaign back in 2013, it has grown and migrated into Canada, where it has been adopted by a number of firefighters, police officers and other first responders.

Pilgrim said anyone can participate in the challenge, not just members of the military or emergency personnel. He said anyone taking part can do it according to their capabilities and don’t have to do the full 22 pushups a day, but however many they are comfortable doing.

He said the numbers of post-traumatic stress disorder suicides are much lower in Canada than in the United States, with the average of military service veteran suicides at one every three weeks.

“It’s really important that we show our support for military veterans and emergency service workers or anybody who struggles with such disorders or illnesses,” said Pilgrim.

The campaign involves doing 22 pushups for 22 days on a social media site.

One of the three firefighters, Nigel Pike, is doing those pushups on a daily basis on Facebook.

The American military started the campaign because it loses an average of 22 veterans to suicide brought on by post-traumatic stress disorder each day.

Andrew Pilgrim, president of the Stephenville Fire Department Local 1852 of the International Association of Firefighters, was the first to take on the challenge and brought it forward to two fellow union members, including Pike and Maria Churchill.

Pilgrim said since the U.S. military started the awareness campaign back in 2013, it has grown and migrated into Canada, where it has been adopted by a number of firefighters, police officers and other first responders.

Pilgrim said anyone can participate in the challenge, not just members of the military or emergency personnel. He said anyone taking part can do it according to their capabilities and don’t have to do the full 22 pushups a day, but however many they are comfortable doing.

He said the numbers of post-traumatic stress disorder suicides are much lower in Canada than in the United States, with the average of military service veteran suicides at one every three weeks.

“It’s really important that we show our support for military veterans and emergency service workers or anybody who struggles with such disorders or illnesses,” said Pilgrim.

Frank Gale/The Western Star

Three career members of the Stephenville Fire Department are doing their part to bring attention to post-traumatic stress disorder through a push-ups awareness campaign including, from left, Nigel Pike, Maria Churchill and Andrew Pilgrim.

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