Friel sought help for PTSD
He said that society must find ways to help people to deal with mental health issues, including through the Workers Safety Insurance Board.
Friel recalled his own struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder as mayor following a 2002 train derailment in the city.
The derailment occurred when the driver of a van struck a train stopped at the Stanley Street railway crossing. The van became lodged between two cars of a 69-car train and was dragged about a half-kilometre before hitting the Rawdon Street bridge and bursting into flames. The explosion caused the last eight cars of the train to roll down the embankment next to several homes. More than 100 people had to leave their homes following the derailment while authorities dealt with the problem.
Although he initially resisted getting help, Friel said he did seek counselling, which helped him deal with the PTSD and move forward.
Ward 3 Coun. Greg Martin, a professional firefighter, thanked Friel for raising the issue and speaking publicly about his struggles.
It’s important for people to recognize the impact stressful incidents can have, Martin said.