The new “Walk the Talk – A Boots-on-the-ground Peer and Trauma Support Systems Guide” is now available for purchase! Click here to learn more!


Many organizations wanting to meet the Standards for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace are simply reaching out for peer or resilience training and skipping the fundamental requirement to have a good trauma management process in place to start with.

They already have a management team of the most competent people in place already, but are not quite sure where to start in managing their trauma related issues. So, they reach out for the solution used most often – training.

However, training in a concept without fundamental organizational support is simply throwing effort and money out the window. Some management leads, tasked with doing the right thing when it comes to developing Trauma Management and Peer Support Systems, are losing sleep with worry over what to do next. This is where Syd and Brad can come in.

We are the authors of “Walk the Talk“, “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support” and “56 Seconds”.

Walk the Talk” is a comprehensive and detailed book on what steps are required to succeed in first building a good trauma management foundation and also building great peer support.

As advisors, we can help your people manage through the complexities of Trauma Management development and peer support. Your people maintain control of the lead while we quietly support their moves and thinking with the over 60 years of experience we have in trauma management and peer support systems and fundamental change management.

Our range of experience addresses the following and much more:

  • Protecting Society’s Protectors
  • Assessing an Organization’s Awareness
  • Getting Management Onside
  • Organizational Pre-Hiring Preparedness
  • Organizational Support for Families
  • Middle Management Leadership
  • Developing CISM Teams
  • Developing Peer Support Teams
  • Staffing CISM and Peer Support Teams
  • Organizational Training for CISM and Peer Support Teams
  • How a CISM and Peer Support System Can Work



Syd Gravel is a former staff sergeant with thirty-one years of experience with the Ottawa Police Service. He is one of the founding fathers of Robin’s Blue Circle, a post-shooting trauma team of peers, established in 1988. Syd is a more than thirty-three-year PTSD survivor and has been a peer supporter since 1988. In 2007, he was nominated by his peers and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, and inducted by the Governor General of Canada for the Order of Merit in Policing, Canada and in 2020 he was invested into the Order of Ottawa.

Since his retirement, he has devoted all his time and energy to speaking on developing resilience and resistance to trauma, trauma management and peer support systems. He has written and published “56 Seconds” and “How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support.” And now co-authored the bookWalk the Talk with Staff Sergeant (ret’d) Brad McKay.

In 2014, Syd developed a trail-blazing curriculum for the training of peers in Canada, based on the guidelines and practices for the selection and training of peers developed by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Syd is currently co-leading the Peer and Trauma Support Systems (P.A.T.S.S.) Team for the Mood Disorders Society of Canada. He is also a volunteer peer facilitator for Soldiers Helping Soldiers in Ottawa. He has developed the content for the three-day peer training project – Transition to Communities for the Mood Disorders Society of Canada and is developing the content for a twenty-hour on-line trauma management course through Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. Syd also proudly served as a senior police advisor for Badge of Life Canada from 2012 to 2020. In 2016, he was nominated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada as a Canadian Champion of Mental Health.


Brad McKay retired in 2015 after thirty-three years of service with the York Regional Police (YRP). In 1984, he was involved in a shooting incident that resulted in the loss of a life. At that time, there were no formal peer support or mental health programs available at YRP, so he processed the event on his own with help from his network of family and friends. In 1989, he co-created a trauma team to support YRP members involved in police shootings. He transitioned this team into the York Region Critical Incident Stress Management Team in 1996. He is an advisor to the executive and an alumni team lead.

The York CISM Team is unique and ground-breaking as a multidisciplinary team in that it supports all first responder services including police, fire, paramedic and emergency department staff. To enhance wellness at YRP, he started the Operational Stress Injury Prevention and Response Unit in 2013; he also created the York Regional Police Peer Support Team in 2014. As a Certified Trauma Services Specialist with ATSS, Brad has responded to and coordinated hundreds of interventions for frontline responders and their families. Brad has been asked to appear on TV News to provide the first responder perspective. Currently Brad is providing clinically supervised peer support for mental health professionals in York Region and is the peer lead for a local yoga group for first responders. Brad is proud and honoured to join Syd Gravel in co-leading the Peer and Trauma Support Systems (P.A.T.S.S.) Team. This is a team of highly skilled, trained, experienced and professional peer and mental health experts from across Canada. Many of these professionals have volunteered countless hours to support front- line responders. Brad volunteers on two peer teams. A family man, Brad is a community-minded energetic advocate for wellness and peer support.

We can be reached with discretion to discuss your concerns at:

Brad McKay:

Syd Gravel:

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.

"Excellent new book..."

"How to Survive PTSD and Build Peer Support is an excellent book by someone who has been there."

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

"You did such amazing work with this book. I have read it twice and know I will read it again. I have told as many people as who would stand still long enough about it. I thank you for the path you have forged for us all. I could never find words to express what your courage has meant to so many lives."