Twisted Trauma founder donates $1,000 to Victim Services

By William McGinn

L to R: Friend Chad Blewett, Jon Perrin, and John Hagarty, executive director of Kawartha Haliburton Victim Services.

Former Kawartha Lakes OPP officer Jon Perrin has donated $1,000 to Kawartha Haliburton Victim Services through Twisted Trauma, the non-profit he runs along with his wife, Jen.

Thursday afternoon he’s off to the Big Country MMA boxing gym for an additional donation.

Perrin was hired as a police officer in 2012, and he called it the best job he ever had. But after witnessing devastation and trauma on the job, he fell into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

He began self-isolating, considering suicide and turning to alcohol. And after one night shift in June 2019 when the chaos going on in his mind became clear, he broke down to his wife, Jen, and soon went into therapy.

Then one day in 2019 he wrote a Facebook post sharing his experiences, and after three people told him the post inspired them to reach out for help for their own situations, Perrin felt an official page could help even more individuals. He started one called Living With A Mental Health Illness, and it eventually turned into the Twisted Trauma Foundation.

“With Twisted Trauma,” said Perrin to the Advocate, “my goal is just to get the word out about struggles with PTSD because a lot of officers struggle in silence with it because of the stigma attached to being that way. They’re scared to speak out about their troubles.” Perrin originally felt he couldn’t do that himself, worried about coming across as weak. But now, sharing his life on a podcast and putting his story out there, he encourages people needing mental health support not to think that way about themselves.

“Victim Services is close to my heart,” he explained, “because in my career I’ve dealt with victims of domestic abuse and all kinds of things, so I know this is an important cause.”

Since becoming a mental health advocate, he has additionally donated thousands of dollars to various local organizations. These include the Canadian Mental Health Association, Ross Memorial Hospital, Boys & Girls Club (BGC Kawarthas), the family of Constable Mike Broderick after his sudden death, and to the Little Britain Food Bank after it was robbed last month. Perrin said they have donated nearly $15,000 total across the region.

A friend of Perrin’s, Tammy Bulcoop, who met him about 10 years ago while she was working at Kent Street’s Tim Horton’s, said “He has overcome so much in the last two to three years but he always puts everybody else first. He’s a big advocate for mental health, which is a big thing for me because I dealt with it four years ago.”

With Perrin at the recent donation event was his long-time friend Chad Blewett. They first met when they played hockey together as four-year-old kids. Blewett sometimes goes to Twisted Trauma donations to take pictures, record and whatever Perrin needs done. He said he’s seen his friend go through quite the journey. “It’s almost like night and day since he started getting help. He used to not be able to come out in public and now he’s out there talking to everybody and getting the word out.”

Last November, Perrin was named Citizen of the Year at the Lindsay and District Chamber of Commerce and he is nominated this year for the seventh Police Hero of the Year, an award through the Police Association of Ontario. He hopes to one day rejoin the police force in some position but is going at his own pace in life. He and Jen were also the creators of the podcast “Saturday Stir-Up with Jon and Jen.”

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