KAWARTHA LAKES-A local OPP officer who is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is giving back by raising money for mental health organizations.
Within a two-month time frame, police officer Jon Perrin found the bodies of two missing young people, dead from suicide and his life has never been the same.
“When people call police, 99 per cent of the time it’s for something that’s bad, it’s not that they’re ever calling when something good is going on, we are constantly responding to death and abuse and severe car crashes where people’s bodies are dead and bodies are horrible to look at and see,” said Perrin. “It’s all things in the real-world other people don’t ever see, so seeing all of that and then…I had been to suicides before, but I think the age of the two victims within a couple months period, really affected me and I found them both, they had been dead and missing, I looked around and I found them.”
After working in a factory for nine years, Perrin decided it was time for a change and he enrolled in college when he was 27. Following graduation, he was hired as a security officer at Sunnybrook hospital where he worked for three years while he applied to the police force. In 2012, Perrin was ecstatic as he was officially hired to work the front lines as a police officer.
“It was the best job I ever had,” he said. “I loved it when I started out.”
But in 2017, after witnessing devastation beyond imagination and responding to calls that will likely affect him for the rest of his life, Perrin began to feel the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.
Perrin says while in rehab for PTSD, he started talking openly about his mental health injury because he wanted to break the stigma attached to mental health and let people know they are not alone.
“I created my Facebook page Living With A Mental Health Illness. Then a podcast called Twisted Trauma, then I wrote a book of poems titled Twisted Trauma Poems By A Police Officer Struggling With PTSD, which is on Apple Books $3.99.” Perrin explained “I wasn’t doing it to make any money, I was doing it because it felt good getting things out through poetry and many people messaged me saying it helped them hearing them.”
He decided to donate all money from book sales and started a fundraiser on Facebook as well, raising money for different mental health organizations.
Someone at Flato Developments heard about his fundraiser and donated $2500 to the cause. Perrin decided to donate this money to Canadian Mental Health Association, presenting them with a cheque on Wednesday in Lindsay.
“We believe in building communities.” said Shakir Rehmatullah, President, Flato Developments. “This is part of our corporate mission, to support the community.”
Flato is in the beginning phases of a new development in the City.
Perrin has another $2500 donation ready to go for the mental health unit at Ross Memorial Hospital in May. That donation will be made during Mental Health Week.
“I felt really down because this community has been through so much in the last 2 years with an officer hurt, suicides, overdoses, Covid related mental health issues. I wanted to do something that involved giving back to the community and also supporting all the services that have helped me on my road to recovery.” Perrin said.
He’s now working on raising money for a third donation.
“Im also going to be doing different fundraiser ideas and keep this on going for our community.”
Anyone wishing to donate can go to the facebook page https://www.facebook.com/donate/1436088430067953/10224153785573747/