Okanagan RCMP officer walks 239 kilometres for PTSD awareness

RCMP Sgt. Rob Farrer began his 239-kilometre journey for PTSD awareness among first responders on Sunday morning. It ended Tuesday afternoon. Megan Turcato / Global News

A B.C. police officer walked 239 kilometres this week to raise mental health awareness.

The journey for Vernon North Okanagan RCMP Sgt. Rob Farrer began on Sunday morning, at 7 a.m., and ended Tuesday afternoon, at 3:32 p.m. — and was completed without sleep.

During that 56.5-hour stretch, Farrer walked a continuous loop along the Okanagan Rail Trail and around Wood Lake. The goal of the walk was to also reduce mental health stigma associated with post-traumatic stress disorders among first responders.

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“I am absolutely amazed and thankful for all of the support from both inside and outside of the RCMP organization,” Farrer said upon completing his walk.

“Although I am tired and sore, I am extremely grateful for the awareness raised, as a result of the walk, surrounding operational stress injuries among first responders. It’s a conversation we must keep having to support one another.”

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On Day 2, Farrer was joined by friend and college Sgt. Maj. Sebastien Lavoie, who also walked the remaining 100 kilometres. The two walked through a Monday evening storm, with Vernon RCMP stating “the two kept moving and knew what they were experiencing is nothing compared to the realities of those with mental health disorders on a daily basis.”

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On Wednesday, B.C. RCMP deputy commissioner Jennifer Strachen congratulated Farrer for “undertaking this incredible initiative,” adding “it is extremely important that we continue the conversation surrounding operational stress injuries so that we are able to get the necessary assistance to people in need.

“Sgt. Farrer’s efforts will help to bring much-needed attention to the topic and reduce the stigma.”

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