The new Walk the Talk – First Responder Peer Support book is now available for purchase! Click here to learn more!

Syd Gravel, a former S./Sgt. from the Ottawa Police Service, with 31 years’ experience, a founding father of Robin’s Blue Circle, a post-shooting trauma peer team, first established in 1988. Syd is a PTSD survivor since 1987 when he was a constable. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant and was responsible for all recruiting and training of the Ottawa Police Service during the last 10 years of his career. In 2007, he participated in a short Pearson Peace-Keeping Mission in Africa and was nominated by his peers and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police and inducted as a Member of the Order of Merit in Policing, Canada. Since his retirement he has been speaking publicly on the development of trauma and peer support systems, including the writing of his four books, “56 Seconds”, (2012) “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” (2013) and “Workplace Diversity – How to Get It Right!” (2014) and “Walk the Talk – A Boots on the Ground Peer and Trauma Support Systems Guide”, (2016).

In 2014 Syd developed the two-day peer training curriculum endorsed by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, now being offered throughout Canada, and is a Co-Lead for the National Peer and Trauma Support Systems (PATSS) Team. In 2016 he developed the curriculum for the Three-Day peer support training for the Transitions to Communities Project managed by the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and in 2016 he also developed the 20-hour on-line Trauma Management Course for Simon Fraser University.

In 2016 Syd was nominated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as a Canadian Champion of Mental Health.

Syd has been lecturing and advising numerous organizations on trauma management and peer support since the 1990’s with numerous appearances on radio, television, newspapers and magazines and continues to do so.


Read more about Syd…

Books by Syd


Walk the Talk – First Responder Peer Support

The book everyone has been asking for. Developed by using over 55 years of experience and knowledge by two titans in the peer support and trauma management world and best-known speakers on police trauma survival. Staff Sergeant (ret’d.) Brad McKay co-founder of the York Regional Quad-Services Critical Incident and Peer Support Teams and Staff Sergeant (ret’d.) Sylvio (Syd) Gravel, M.O.M., co-founder of the Ottawa Police Service’s Robin’s Blue Circle – an informal post shooting trauma peer team in existence since 1988.


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.

"56 Seconds is a must read for officers, their families and close colleagues to help them deal with the trauma from a police shooting."

"It was a great seminar, informative and inspiring presentations, and very engaged participation by the attendees. A great success. Clearly, your stories resonated with participants' experience - and it complemented well with the collective learning that emerged from the dialogues of the Equity Project."

"Excellent new book..."

"You were the best speaker yet! I learned a lot about what it means to be a police officer faced with such a difficult decision and the personal cost. We all really appreciated that you came to speak to us."

"He had members of the audience hanging on his words. There were those who shed tears of empathy as well. Through this, many began to see policing with a new awareness, provided by an experienced, respected and valued officer (recently retired). I have since heard many accolades about this presentation from members of the audience."