Trev, like others in the military, had been trained to be a soldier. He was not trained in how to deal with the trauma that comes from experiencing a career in the military. Nor was he trained in the complexities of transitioning to civilian life. The flashbacks, sleeplessness, anger and anxiety. The physical pain and symptoms of years of hard physical work. The shame of not knowing how to recognize or deal with the mental anguish of PTSD. It was not until he incorporated medical cannabis into his therapy that he truly began to heal from his trauma and function as himself again.
The relief he eventually found was too effective for Trev to keep to himself. He also knew that healing was a multidisciplinary undertaking that involved mental, physical, and social elements. Not to mention the assistance individuals needed in navigating the health system and Veterans Affairs. Eventually Trev’s healing journey and education in medical cannabis reached a point at which he knew he had to assist others in finding their way out of the darkness.
Trev went public with his story. He took every opportunity he could to spread the word that there is hope. Eventually he joined with like-minded people and forged a business plan for a healing center that would address the full needs of those recovering from trauma. A place where the illness is understood and recognized. Somewhere that sufferers could find the latest in therapeutic medicine and practitioners who could treat both body and mind. The first Trauma Healing Centers clinic opened in 2015, where Trev and his partner developed a “one-stop-shop” for trauma recovery assistance.
The early days of the center were not easy. There wasn’t much discussion about medical cannabis; it was a new frontier. Trauma Healing Centers were given a year to prove themselves and prove themselves they did. Quickly, they became known as a professional clinic to serve the medical needs of the whole person – just as trauma itself affects the whole person. From cancer patients to those with Crohn’s disease, individuals suffering from PTSD to arthritis, people’s lives are being given back to them through Trauma Healing Centers. The clinic’s multi-disciplinary approach has been highly recognized and is respected by the medical community.
One in five Canadians suffer from a mental illness. Yet, the stigma persists. Trev, and Trauma Healing Centers, know that invisible injuries can be among the most insidious and debilitating. Trauma Healing Centers has a mission to break the cycle of injury that is only exacerbated by the stigma – through education and by offering a place where those affected by it can be heard, treated, understood and ultimately healed.
Trev knows, really knows, that the invisible injuries of mental illness are often the most debilitating. They are also the most misunderstood. A broken bone can be fixed. Also, it can be seen by medical professionals and the world at large. Non-physical injuries are the most difficult to treat and are not recognized. Those who don’t suffer from such an illness cannot know its grim effects. Although Trev is focused on helping those who endure this type of illness, he is also driven to educate those who don’t have it. He sees that as the only way to end the unnecessary shame and secrecy around PTSD, depression and anxiety. As a nation, we have to talk about it. It is only through real conversation and education that the public (and legislators) will begin to heal the deep wounds carried by so many. Wounds that are destroying lives, families and communities.
For Trev, this is a conversation that should begin as soon as kids can talk. His son was four years old when Trev was suffering the peak of his illness. This is an issue for schools, daycares and within the home. He believes it needs to start early in order to change the mindset around wellness – to help children realize that wellness is a part of life that needs to be worked on. The only way to end the stigma is to educate everyone so that it is not seen as a disturbance to life, but as a part of it.
For those suffering from mental health issues right now, Trev wants you to know you are not alone. And that is not just a platitude – it’s the truth. One in five Canadians suffer from some form of mental illness. He also wants people to know that being ill does not have to be a frightening experience. It doesn’t have to be something to be ashamed of. But, it does have to be dealt with.
Thirdly, Trev wants people to know that the longer they wait to get help, the deeper the hole they are in becomes, and the longer it will take to climb out of that darkness. If you think you may have a mental illness, or even just suspect it for a second, Trev implores you to go get checked. Like most other illnesses, if it is caught early enough it is easier to learn helpful coping mechanisms. Be open to anything for treatment and do it as soon as possible.
Today people approach Trev to say thank you and to tell him that he has helped to save the life of someone they love. Humbled, Trev uses these words of gratitude to fuel his ongoing work with Trauma Healing Centers.