A 31 year former police Staff Sergeant veteran and an over 28 year survivor of PTSD, Syd is the Team Lead for the Canadian National Peer and Trauma Support Systems Team for the Mood Disorders Society of Canada (https://www.facebook.com/PeerandTraumaSupport/?notif_t=page_fan)  and the Senior Advisor for Badge of Life Canada (http://badgeoflifecanada.com/about-us/syd-gravel/).

Syd is the author of “56 Seconds” a best selling book on the development of informal peer support and “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” with more detailed information to help in the development of formal peer support.  His third book, “Workplace Diversity – How to Get it Right” addresses the management of cultural change projects.

Syd has extensive experience and unique insight in:

  • The development of awareness, resilience and resistance for employees and their families to trauma within the workplace;
  • Helping coach management towards policy and procedure development to address trauma in the workplace; and
  • Building peer support teams.

He shares his experiences with a constructive view and as an opportunity to positively move forward.

Read more about Syd…

Books by Syd


How To Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support

This book provides insightful techniques to the development of awareness, resilience and resistance for employees and their families to trauma within the workplace. It also the foundation piece of what peers need to know in the development of formal or informal peer groups. It also offers assistance for management towards the development of policy and procedure to address trauma in the workplace.


56 Seconds

“56 Seconds” is the foundation piece that everyone who is contemplating developing an informal peer support group must read. Syd tells the real life story of how his life took a dramatic turn in just 56 Seconds and how that lead to the formation of an informal peer support group that has survived since 1988 and has helped hundreds of police officers survive the trauma of fatal to near fatal work related incidents. He reveals the secrets to his healthy survival based on a solid foundation of peer support, friends, family and medical practitioners.

"Syd gave an excellent presentation that I attended. He provided clear information on PTSD and why university/college departments of university safety need to be aware of the issue in their departments. Syd speaks from the heart and is honest, informative and engaging. I highly recommend him as a speaker."

"The learning experience for us and our students was immense! Your story is commanding and impactful and your style of delivery very, very engaging. Thank you sincerely for your Mohawk trip and for sharing your story to guide others."

"Syd is a very passionate and engaging speaker who is devoted to helping others. By sharing his personal experience as a PTSD survivor, Syd provides hope to other officers who have suffered psychological injuries from traumatic events faced during their policing career.  Syd provides a unique contact-based training where his experience offers instant credibility with fellow police officers. Syd is an excellent resource for any policing organization looking to implement new strategies and solutions such as a peer support programs in their workplace to reduce the stigma of psychological health issues."

"Great presentation. One could have heard a pin drop during your talk."

"In 1987, Syd was involved in a very traumatic incident in which a robbery suspect lost his life. The event deeply affected Syd. To his credit he helped develop a comprehensive Police Service Peer Support Network on dealing with PTSD. It is Syd's legacy to the Ottawa Police."