Chatham-Kent OPP officer shining light on PTSD with new book
A Chatham-Kent OPP officer is shedding light on a form of mental illness that the Canadian Mental Health Association says is not uncommon among emergency responders.
Brian Knowler has written a book called “On the Other Side of Broken.”
It’s about one night in October of 2004 that changed his life forever.
Knowler was called to the scene of a van and pickup truck crash on Highway 21 between St. Joaquim and Tilbury. He came across a man covered in blood, barely holding onto life.
That man was Mike Drago, someone Knowler knew, and was in fact a close friend in University. Drago died in his arms.
Little did Knowler know that night would haunt him.
Knowler visited the crash site for the first time since 2004 with CTV cameras. He admits to hitting rock bottom.
“I hit bottom physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically,” says Knowler.
Knowler turned to alcohol and started isolating himself from friends and family. He eventually went to see a doctor who diagnosed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 1 in 10 Canadians will experience PTSD. Stats show about two thirds of those people are emergency responders.
Knowler turned to writing as a coping mechanism, and has published his first book. He hopes people with mental illness will read the book and know they are not alone.
Knowler also feels the stigmas about PTSD are changing, especially within the police force.
The official launch for his book is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Chatham-Kent public library.