OSI-CAN Blogs



Five Fundamental Beliefs About Life – Foundation for Peer Support:


● Everyone has the ability to learn and grow.

● People’s beliefs determine their behavior.

● People think their way through life.

● Whatever people focus on, they give power to.

● Life’s experiences are the best teacher.


Beliefs re-stated within the context of Mental Health and Recovery:

  • Being diagnosed with a mental health injury does not take away the ability to learn and grow; people can recover and often gain new wisdom they take with them in their new experiences.

  • When you start to understand what beliefs or actions (if any) brought you to a place in life where you developed an OSI, it gives you a chance to look at those beliefs with fresh eyes. Were there any beliefs you would choose not to bring forward with you in life? Is there any advice you would give someone at the start of their profession that you wish you had known? What do you believe is true about yourself?

  • Being diagnosed with a psychological injury does not permanently take away your ability to be strategic and creative. Often people with an OSI develop new skills as part of their recovery.

  • Life's experiences are still the best teacher. With your new insight and experience, where will this take you? What will you gain from this experience? In recovery, we start to see the gifts we have received from this injury and view it with a new perspective.

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


To access peer support please visit:

Our mission is to inspire hope and contribute to the continuous well-being and recovery process of Veterans and Front Line Protectors across Canada.


We seek to empower and encourage them to strive for recovery through peer and professional support while creating greater public awareness.​


We at OSI-CAN do not see PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Disorder, we see it as an Injury you can recover from. If you are suffering from the symptoms of an Occupational or Operational Stress Injury, then a PTSD or PTSI diagnosis is not required to get our help


The target demographic of OSI-CAN is, but not limited to:

Former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Medical Examiners/Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist/COMMS Personnel, Correctional Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community.


We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.

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Trauma-informed care is a new idea being used in professional healthcare but also has application at home when working on recovery from PTSD. The idea is that in treatment of an injury, healthcare professionals need to not just look at treating the physical injury but look deeper into treating the trauma of the mind and address both equally. At home this is just as true, one needs to see that the physical injuries may heal but the mental health injuries can last a lot longer and affect the home environment. Creating a mentally safe environment at home for the person, is more conducive to healing.


Trauma-informed care seeks to:

  • Realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand paths for recovery;

  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of trauma in peers, families, and colleagues;

  • Integrate knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices; and

  • Actively avoid re-traumatization


The principles of trauma-informed care in the home can come with some effort at making it possible to talk about mental health as well as making healing a part of one’s lifestyle. It is those small changes in lifestyle that will help to not reactivate the trauma the person has experienced. Some small ways would be looking at the things that seem to make the person uneasy, anxious, or upset such as: sudden loud noises, tones that remind them of work such as on cellular phones. Television shows related to what they experienced as a frontline protector may also trigger some of those symptoms as well as watching the news. While it can be painful to discuss the details of a trauma with family, it can be possible to discuss what needs to be done to become healthy. Things like talking about going for counselling, needing to get outside, getting some exercise and getting fresh air together rather than the person who was injured doing these things alone.


In the journey of healing, re-entry into the community is something that happens when the person is ready. Going to a store and gaining that exposure to stimulus of a larger environment but only in small increments. So maybe you can only tolerate two minutes in a large store, but going with the support of your family can provide the opportunity to build on that success of two minutes that can then turn into five minutes.


Trauma is a difficult topic for discussion in most cases but when that trauma becomes an injury that trauma becomes even more difficult to discuss. Unresolved trauma may affect all parts of a person's life with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, and/or spiritual well-being.


Ensuring that the physical and emotional safety of an individual is addressed is the first important step to providing Trauma-Informed Care. As the family undertakes the process of healing, the paramount objective is to reconnect the person and their family to sources of hope and recovery, empathetic and equal relationships, self-determination, empowerment, dignity, respect and social inclusion.



We at OSI-CAN do not see PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Disorder, we see it as an Injury you can recover from. If you are suffering from the symptoms of an Occupational or Operational Stress Injury, then a PTSD or PTSI diagnosis is not required to get our help!


OSI-CAN Target Demographic

The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes, Persons who in the performance of their jobs are exposed to criminal acts of Trauma like Prosecutors as one example, and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.

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What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition or (DSM-5) states that PTSD is caused by ‘Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence …’. The DSM-5 then describes in great detail how a person can be exposed to these traumatic circumstances along with symptoms and behaviours that commonly occur with such an exposure. These exposures described in the DSM-5 include:

· Directly experiencing the traumatic event.

· Witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others.

· Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend. In cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the event(s) must have been violent or accidental.

· Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s) (ie: first responders collecting human remains, police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse).

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness. A mental illness that we at OSI-CAN prefer to think of as an Operational Stress Injury or Occupational Stress Injury that one can recover from rather than to refer to it as a Disorder. PTSD or an OSI involves exposure to trauma involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence.

Some jobs or occupations put people in dangerous and traumatic situations. Military personnel, first responders (police, firefighters, and paramedics), doctors, and nurses experience higher rates of PTSD than other professions.

Something is traumatic when it is very frightening, overwhelming and causes a lot of distress. Trauma is often unexpected, and many people say that they felt powerless to stop or change the event. Traumatic events may include crimes, natural disasters, accidents, war or conflict, or other threats to life. It could be an event or situation that you experience yourself or something that happens to others, including loved ones.

PTSD or an OSI causes intrusive symptoms such as re-experiencing the traumatic event. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or thoughts of the event that seem to come from nowhere. They often avoid places, people, conversations, or even things that remind them of the event—for example, someone who was hurt in a car crash might avoid driving.

PTSD or an OSI can make people feel very nervous or ‘on edge’. Many feel startled very easily, have a hard time concentrating, feel irritable, or have problems sleeping well. They may often feel like something terrible is about to happen, even when they are safe. Some people feel very numb and detached. They may feel like things around them aren’t real, feel disconnected from their body or thoughts, or have a hard time feeling emotions. People also experience a change in their thoughts and mood related to the traumatic event. For some people, alcohol or drugs can be a way to cope with PTSD or an OSI.

Why does PTSD not affect everyone equally?

While most people experience trauma at some point in their life, not all traumatic experiences lead to PTSD. We aren’t sure why trauma causes PTSD or an OSI in some people but not others, but it’s likely linked to many different factors. This includes the length of time the trauma lasted, the number of other traumatic experiences in a person’s life, their reaction to the event, and the kind of support they received after the event.

Trauma is not always a single event in the past. Some trauma, particularly repeated acts like abuse or trauma during wartime, can impact a person’s life far beyond the symptoms of PTSD. Some use other terms like ‘complex PTSD’ to describe these experiences.

For Further Detail:

Read up on PTSD or OSI in the OSI-CAN Manual

We at OSI-CAN do not see PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Disorder, we see it as an Injury you can recover from. If you are suffering from the symptoms of an Operational Stress Injury, then a PTSD or PTSI diagnosis is not required to get our help!


Our mission is to inspire hope and contribute to the continuous well-being and recovery process of Veterans and Front Line Protectors across Canada.

We seek to empower and encourage them to strive for recovery through peer and professional support while creating greater public awareness.


The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.

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OSI-CAN Target Demographic

The target demographic of OSI-CAN are but are not limited to: former and serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Allied Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Frontline Protectors --- which include Municipal Police Services, CN Police Services, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Protection Services, Wildland Firefighters, Hospital Trauma personnel, Nurses, healthcare Workers, Social Workers, Animal Control Officers, Coroners, Indigenous Emergency Management, Victim Services Personnel, Emergency Communications Specialist, Corrections Officers, “Volunteer” First Responders, Conservation Officers, Aboriginal Emergency Services personnel, Tow Truck drivers who clean up accident scenes, Persons who in the performance of their jobs are exposed to criminal acts of Trauma like Prosecutors as one example, and their spouses/partners. This demographic was chosen due to the commonality of experiences they share through the service they provide to the country and community. We have a special interest and support volunteer first responders as they are not eligible for programs such as Workers' Compensation.