Earl Blacklock, executive director of Island Integrated Counselling, a Nanaimo-area non-profit, addresses the crowd after receiving $10,000 from the Nanaimo and Tom Harris Community foundations at the Port Theatre Sept. 27. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo first responders suffering PTSD to benefit from $10K grant

Nanaimo and Tom Harris Community foundations hand out total of $90K to area groups

Police, paramedics and firefighters suffering post-traumatic stress disorder are expected to benefit after Island Integrated Counselling was granted $10,000 from Nanaimo and Tom Harris Community foundations.

Island Integrated Counselling, a non-profit providing a range of counselling services, was among six organizations receiving a share of $90,000 from the 2019 Vital Nanaimo and Tom Harris Community Foundation funds during an event at Port Place Theatre Friday.

Earl Blacklock, integrated counselling’s executive director, was a former ambulance attendant who was assaulted 39 years ago while on duty. He says it took 20 years, without assistance, to recover.

Blacklock says the money will fund a program providing therapy after first responders experience “sudden trauma.” While organizations have “debrief programs“ with opportunity for people to “emotionally react,” Blacklock says his organization seeks to provide aid within hours of the trauma and extend that to the entire family.

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“The ideal is always, that if we can reach that person before they go home, then they are given some of the tools they need to make sure that they’re not carrying that trauma into their home and affecting their whole family, so it’s a multi-faceted approach,” Blacklock says. “It’s going to be long-term. We’re expecting the people that are involved in the next year to be providing services for the next five years.”

Blacklock is grateful to both foundations and says information will also be gathered and used for a related study.

Other organizations receiving money were Nanaimo Family Life Association, with $15,000 for its EngAGE Community Outreach Centre providing programming for seniors.

The Nanaimo area John Howard Society received $10,000 for a 12-week pilot for high-risk and vulnerable female youth.

Nanaimo Unitarian Shelter received $15,000 for its homeless outreach pilot project.

Navy League of Canada’s Nanaimo branch was granted $5,000 for replacement of old furnaces at its Fifth Street building.

Nanaimo Ladysmith Schools Foundation received $15,000, as well as an additional $20,000 from the Tom Harris fund, for a pilot to provide meals and food to vulnerable students.

Money was granted to local charities to support projects addressing local priorities, according to a press release.


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