Cariboo-Prince George Member of Parliament Todd Doherty received the Ontario Psychological Association (OPA) 2017 Public Service Award Thursday.
The OPA Award recognizes the work done by public officials to help the most vulnerable amongst – those individuals and their family members who suffer from behavioural and developmental problems including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), chronic occupational stress and addictions.
“I am truly honoured and humbled in receiving this award. Although, I struggle with accepting an award when we have so many that are still suffering in silence, so many that feel that taking their own life is the only way out of the pain,” Doherty said. “I will continue to use whatever platform is afforded to me to ensure those who are suffering know it is okay to say, ‘I am not well’, it is okay to ask for help and that the help they seek will be there in their time of need.”
OPA chief executive officer Janet Kasperski praised Doherty in a letter, writing “you are truly a political superstar whose innate sense of caring for others shines through in all that you do.”
Doherty’s Private Members Bill, C-211, calls on the federal government to develop a national strategy for PTSD.
It currently sits at second reading in the Senate.
“This is needed from coast to coast,” Doherty has said in previous interviews. “We are looking to develop some constant care or diagnosis for those who put their uniforms on every day to serve the communities and our country — the front line workers that really need help.”
The enactment of the bill would require the Minister of Health to convene a conference with the Minister of National Defence, the Minister of Veterans Affairs, provincial and territorial government representatives responsible for health and representatives of the medical community and patients’ groups for the purpose of developing a comprehensive federal framework to address the challenges of recognizing the symptoms and providing timely diagnosis and treatment of PTSD.