Phonse's Story

Phonse Jessome is a storyteller through and through. If you tried to tally all the people he has interviewed during his 35 year career in journalism, you’d be lost in numbers for hours, if not days or weeks. It’s a feeling to which Phonse can relate. Getting lost in a relapse is a cruel and often incapacitating part of his life. It has been for more than a decade.

Phonse lives with PTSD.

At just 17 years old, the Whitney Pier native started working in the newsroom at CHER Radio in Sydney. He went on to report and anchor at ATV News before becoming a senior videographer at CBC Nova Scotia. During his illustrious career he received multiple local, regional and national awards for his work.

Phonse specialized in covering crime and the world of outlaw motorcycle gangs. He told stories of sudden death in all its forms, accidental and intentional; from the bloody fields of war and international disaster, to the killing of innocent people in living rooms, basements, alleys and public places in Nova Scotia.

Some viewers and members of the Canadian Armed Forces will remember Phonse reporting from war zones in a flak jacket. He covered the civil war in Haiti and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia. Both involved battlefields, but Phonse’s PTSD was already bubbling to the surface before those horrific assignments. It’s important to note that while Phonse’s PTSD wasn’t born on a battlefield, relapsing into the harrowing images of war certainly weighs heavily on both his mind and body.

Phonse has authored two best-selling True Crime books, Murder at McDonald’s – The Killers Next Door and Somebody’s Daughter – Inside an International Prostitution Ring, along with a Halifax based crime novel, Disposable Souls.

Today, he focuses on writing a blog aimed at helping him, and others, understand his PTSD.It is raw, honest and at times, incredibly difficult to read.

When asked to participate in our campaign, Phonse’s response was swift and short.

“Whatever helps. I’m in.”

PTSD can happen anywhere to anyon**e. And you can help.

Sherry's Story

Sherry Blinkhorn is a successful broker and real estate agent in Pictou County. From the outside she looks like she has the world by the tail – a thriving business, a beautiful home, a new spouse, two grown sons, a busy social life and lots of travel. On the inside though she often struggles – with self-doubt, depression, anxiety and the paralyzing effects of PTSD.

Sherry was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in 2009. It was brought about after a serious fire at her home. Like many people, Sherry tried to pretend she was fine, but her friends knew better. Unable to sleep, Sherry was eventually admitted to the hospital in Antigonish where she received her diagnosis and subsequent treatment.

Sherry’s reaction to the fire wasn’t just based on the events of 2009. As a child, her two main caretakers lived with severe mental illness. Both her mother and grandmother spent considerable time as patients at the Nova Scotia Hospital. As a result, Sherry became a ward of the court and recalls changing schools three times in grade primary alone. Her upbringing was full of upheaval, uncertainty and exposure to several traumatic events. In fact, it was the fire in 2009 that brought her right back to feeling victimized as a child.

Sherry is triggered today by the sound of sirens, smoke alarms and the smell of smoke. She hopes that by sharing her story, people will realize PTSD can happen to anyone.

“It could be a doctor, a nurse, or a person in a business suit,” says Sherry. “It can be everyday people, just like me. I’m not looking to minimize anyone else’s experience, but rather raise awareness regarding the prevalence and scope of PTSD in our communities. Without good mental health there is no health. I’ve learned to manage and cope with my illness and you can too!”

PTSD can happen anywhere to anyone. And you can help.

Parker's Story

We are happy to tell you the child featured in this screen shot does not live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For the purposes of our campaign, he is a volunteer who agreed to put on some hockey gear, be painted green and photographed. We thank him and his parents for helping us raise PTSD awareness through this public education campaign.

Unfortunately, not all children are so lucky. PTSD doesn’t discriminate based on age. Our young people can be impacted too. Physical or sexual abuse, violent crimes, witnessing disasters, being involved in serious accidents… regrettably, our children are not immune.

PTSD can happen anywhere to anyone. And you can help.