It all started with an email from a stranger, to a stranger. It ended with this innovative initiative designed to draw attention to the full impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in our province, and beyond.

PTSD isn’t always born on a battlefield.

It’s a simple, yet powerful statement. It’s not intended to minimize anyone’s experience with PTSD, but rather heighten public awareness about the truth regarding its scope. Like mental illness in general, PTSD does not discriminate. People of all ages, races and economic levels are affected.

David Sullivan and Jeff Simpson are the creative minds behind this campaign. It was an idea born after David was diagnosed with PTSD. While talking to his father about it, he was met with a bewildered response… “But, you were never in the army or anything.”

That’s when David realized his personal battle with PTSD would be different from anyone else’s experience. But then again, that’s the true nature of PTSD. It is always unique.

This campaign is meant to get people talking, to broaden the extent of PTSD and to bring our community together in an inclusive way. We hope it catches your attention and expands yourperspective. PTSD can happen anywhere to anyone. And you can help.

Hello Starr,
We’ve never met, but I’ve heard a lot about the work you’re doing for mental health in Nova Scotia. My name is Dave Sullivan, I'm a writer/associate creative director from St. John's, Newfoundland.
Back home, I’m a pretty big advocate for mental health. I write about it often in blogs and for some media outlets. I’ve even done some public speaking for both Eastern Health and the RCMP. I have PTSD. It's my little gift from the cosmos. I was diagnosed with it about a year and a half ago, but have been battling the symptoms my entire life. When I was first diagnosed I was surprised to see how few articles there were directed towards civilian individuals living with PTSD. Even my father was baffled when I explained my diagnosis, "but, you were never in the army or anything." About a year ago I had an idea for an awareness campaign to explain to people that PTSD isn't just born on a battlefield, it can come from any trauma that an individual may experience. My current creative partner at Arrivals and Departures, Jeff Simpson, and I have further developed the campaign surrounding this idea. Forgive me, but I've never reached out to somebody with an idea before. I'm new to this. I just know that I want there to be something out there that lets people know there are others like them. Would this be something your organization would be interested in? Regardless of your answer,I appreciate your time, and thank you for reading this. Keep up the great work, Dave

“Normalizing mental health conversations as a routine part of everyday life challenges us to overcome secrecy and outdated anxieties towards people experiencing mental / emotional struggles.”
— John Whelan, PhD., R. Psych, Author

John Whelan, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who has spent a 20-year career working with serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces and first responders. He served in the RCN for nearly nine years during the Cold War years before leaving to attend university. John is curently an Adjunct Professor at Mount St. Vincent University where he continues outcome-focused clinical research, advocacy and outreach work.  He is an active member of several veterans organizations.

Visit John's website here:  www.whelanpsych.com

“I think it’s great. PTSD knows no boundaries and we should all work together as a society to help those and their families who are inflicted. The military should welcome this with open arms.”
— Peter Stoffer, Former NDP MP & Veteran’s Advocate

“I commend your team and volunteers for this initiative. This is exactly one of the key messages in my new book. That is why I highlighted multiple professions and relationships - because too many people mistakenly believe you have to be military, police or fire (and the like) to be diagnosed with PTSD, or to be negatively impacted by trauma.”
— Janice Landry, Author “The Legacy Letters – How Trauma Affects Our Lives”