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Stories of PTSD focus of new event

A local charity is hosting an event in hopes of bringing awareness to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

On Wednesday evening, Rise House International will be hosting Rise Above PTSD: Stories of Redemption.

Brian Knowler, legal consultant for Rise House International, said the event is being held in conjunction with the annual Bell Let's Talk Day.

Knowler, along with Rise House International Founder Emily Hime, works in the emergency responder field and said the goal is to shine a light on the effects of PTSD.

"It's not meant to be a clinical night. It's not meant to be a seminar on what to look for with mental health and trauma. It's basically a night of storytelling," said Knowler.

The evening will feature four guest speakers who will share their individual experiences with trauma, how they were able to recover as well as their healing process.

"It is four first responders who have all dealt with trauma and PTSD, sharing our stories and talking about how we have come back from these very, very dark places," he explained.

Knowler said the stories are intended to be an informal way to encourage others to talk about any trauma or stress they are dealing with. Although the speakers are in the first responder field, Knowler said it's meant to be for everyone.

"I would say it's for anyone who's interested in either recovery from mental health, stories about resiliency or stories about leadership. We're really were hoping for a very mixed audience," he said. "We know we'll have some first responders there but we're hoping for some teachers, students, people on the front line of work such as animal welfare, child protection, social work. Those are other roles that quite often don't get as much exposure when you're talking about mental health issues."

The event takes place on Wednesday at Ten-Seven Cafe & Lounge in Chatham at 6 p.m. Tickets range from $20-$35. They are available for purchase on Rise House International's website or on a first come first serve basis at the door.

Proceeds raised from the event will go towards Rise House International and the Chatham-Kent Women's Centre.

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