New support group aims to help non-first responders dealing with trauma

Lynn Walker (left) and Roxanne Philibert (right) started a new trauma-focused support group called F.E.A.R. It starts on Wednesday at the Cornerstone Methodist Church. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

“Trauma, it doesn’t pick and choose who it touches. It will touch anybody and it won’t be gentle.”

The founders of a new Prince Albert support group are hoping it provides a safe space for people to cope with traumatic experiences.

Lynn Walker and Roxanne Philibert said F.E.A.R. (Face Everything and Rise) is the sister support group of W.I.N. (What’s Important Now), which is dedicated to first responders.

But the pair wanted to create a separate group for civilians who have experienced trauma. It may stem from a miscarriage, abuse, death, crime or adoption, to name a few.

“Trauma, it doesn’t pick and choose who it touches. It will touch anybody and it won’t be gentle. It’s going to hit you so hard,” said Walker.

“You have to lean on somebody.”

Both Walker and Philibert have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While Walker’s traumatic incident occurred in August of last year, she said there were a group of events that led up to it.

“I always thought I was a very strong, independent woman, and I got broken and now it’s time for me to pick myself up, dust myself off and heal—and my way of healing is helping others,” she said.

Walker said you might not even know you’re traumatized until something significant happens, such as a death.

Wednesday marks five years since Philibert’s son died by suicide. She said she’s felt agitated learning about recent suicides in the community.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t understand, people in the professional field that don’t understand,” said Philibert.

While the pair emphasized that a support group shouldn’t replace a therapist, they feel it has many benefits. This includes skipping wait times to see a therapist when you simply need to talk, as well as making lifelong friendships.

“I hope that’s what these people feel when they come to the group—They walk in all shambled and just frazzled and hopefully by just talking or even just listening, we can help them settle and become comfortable,” said Walker.

“It’s just peer-to-peer and basically you just start talking. You give everybody time to tell their stories,” added Philibert. She emphasized it isn’t a professionally-led group.

Starting on Mar. 4, the group will meet every Wednesday at the Cornerstone Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Walker and Philibert ask participants to keep anything shared to yourself to create a confidential, safe environment.

W.I.N. meets at the Cornerstone Methodist Church on Sundays starting at 7 p.m. It’s open to corrections officers, doctors, nurses and social workers, to name a few.