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The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

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PTSD Beyond Trauma – Not Just a Soldier’s Story

Post by Guest on Thu 12 Jan 2017, 13:35

PTSD Beyond Trauma – Not Just a Soldier’s Story

12 JANUARY 2017

(TORONTO, ON) – You no doubt have heard of Lionel Desmond, the Canadian Afghan-veteran living outside of Halifax, who recently murdered his mother, wife, daughter, and then killed himself. While in the Armed Forces he received treatment for PTSD. After that the story is not so clear.

It is the PTSD for Canadian veterans which has received much of press and media coverage over the past several years. Scores of vets have committed suicide, but killing yourself is very different than killing your family then yourself.

Land Task Force members are encompassed by the heat wave of a M2CG-Carl Gustav recoilless rifle while conducting a live fire exercise. Members of Windsor’s reserve regiments will be participating in Exercise Arrowhead Calm 2016 from April 15 through 17 in Meaford, Ontario.

CBC’s The Nature of Things explains to us that PTSD is not merely a soldier’s story, but can affect anyone, whether an emergency response team member, a victim of a gang shooting, a sexually abused person, a terrorist attack witness, or a victim of an horrific car accident.

It knows no bounds and is not restricted to soldiers.

In PTSD Beyond Trauma – Not Just A Soldier’s Story you’ll be exposed to 45 minutes of cutting edge medical and scientific research into PTSD. You’ll get an inside look at possible treatments including the use of a common beta blocker, Propranolol, which is used to slow heart rhythms and for the control of Essential Tremor.

You’ll see the role played by sophisticated MRI’s of the brains of PTSD victims.

It affects more civilians than soldiers and more women than men. Let’s briefly take a few quotes from some of the sufferer’s of PTSD to give you a better understanding of what they are suffering.

“I don’t know how to explain this to you. The silence and the noise.”

“A horror show that was never supposed to happen.”

“It was like going so far into yourself that you couldn’t get out.”

“I felt like I was nothing. It can’t get lower than that.”

A 3-vehicle collision on County Road 22 in Lakeshore, on 18 October 20016, is being investigated by the Ontario Provincial Police.

I’ll quote director Patrick Reed who explained why he wanted to make this documentary.

Through my past documentaries, Shake Hands with the Devil, and Triage, I have had unique access to high profile individuals who have struggled with PTSD; people like General Roméo Dallaire and Dr James Orbinski. Both were in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Both witnessed some of the worst of humanity. Both were understandably haunted by the memories.

When I started making this film, Beyond Trauma, I had an ongoing interest in PTSD. But my interest is more than professional. It’s also personal.

Most Canadians have never gone to war or have lived through genocide. But many know people who struggle with traumatic memories, friends and family who often suffer in silence; whether out of guilt or a belief that PTSD somehow only affects the military or humanitarians, or other “exceptional” people.

A few years back, on September 11, 2010, my own parents were riding on a double decker bus near Syracuse, New York. In the middle of the night, the driver inexplicably went off route, and drove under a railway bridge, tearing the top-level off the bus.

Four people died.

My mom was physically hurt. But eventually she fully recovered.

My father was physically unharmed. But he couldn’t shake the memories.

As my siblings and I watched the unfolding media coverage, many of us had the same surprised reaction. My mom spoke in great detail about the event. My dad sat quietly beside her. My dad has never been quiet before in his life. Ever.

My father is a very interesting, thoughtful man, but of a generation where you rarely admit you’re struggling with a mental illness. For him, personal strength is a defining attribute, and essential as the father of 11 children.

“Put your head down and keep your feet moving,” was one of his standard lines. And yet, in this case, that advice didn’t work for him.

My father admires others like Dallaire and Orbinski who talk about their experiences. But for him, their struggles are justified because their experiences were exceptional. For my father, he was just in a traffic accident, however brutal.

Eventually, he did seek treatment, and his PTSD symptoms subsided.

For me, exploring the science of PTSD and profiling how different people cope with the disorder was motivated by my father, and people like him. Part of the healing process for many is finally realizing that PTSD affects not just the military, and is not a mark of weakness.

Sometimes, in fact, the true measure of strength is admitting you need help.

It’s a fact that just about all of us experience trauma. Some simply skip over it but for others it’s lived over and over again. The documentary probes if we can ever get over the trauma.

It then profiles some case studies.

Stan and Ute Lawrence were involved in a horrific mass collision on the 401 in southwestern Ontario which involved 87 vehicles and killed 8 people, including a girl on the roof of their car who died a horrific fiery death. Strangely when the accident is replayed an MRI of Stan’s brain shows great activity but Ute’s brain shuts down.

“The more repeated the trauma, the more difficult the disorder is to treat,” said Dr Ruth Lanius, the director of PTSD research at Western University. “People who shut down because they feel that they are entirely helpless, that you know whatever they do will result in their being hurt, and have this complete loss of agency during their trauma, clinically are much sicker than individuals who haven’t experienced that.”

The OPP responded to a fatal collision in Lambton County on 16 July 2016.

Then there is Max who was part of the most recent Paris terrorist attacks and who has experienced nightmares, the smells, the colours, and the gushing of blood. Dr Alain Bruné of Montreal’s McGill University administers doses of Propranolol, a common beta blocker, and claims to transform PTSD from a traumatic experience into simply a bad memory. Six sessions are enough to defeat the PTSD.

There is then Lara McKeon, who was raped at 16 and sexually abused twice in the following decade. She suffered flashbacks, helplessness, and a devastating loss of self control focusing on seeking love. Laura was increasingly paralyzed by panic attacks and anxiety until the point when it became unbearable.

Simply sharing her story as an author was the initial step in her healing process.

Now, missing a few of the stories, let’s look at Dr Stolbach in Chicago, who works with African-American and Latinos who have been shot in gang warfare in the US murder capital. These youngsters are living in a war zone and they seem to be getting younger and younger.

Stolbach professes that these young men have been exposed to so many traumas, the real cure is to eliminate the toxins that permeate their lives. Living in constant danger seems to shut down part of your brain.

Stolbach’s cure is to have the shooting victims learn glass blowing.

“It’s very hard to be working with glass and not be in the present moment,” Stolbach concludes. “It’s very hard to do that work and not be in the present moment. And that’s the way to help people from being traumatized.”

Take a moment and think if you are suffering from PTSD. If so seek help.

CBC’s The Nature of Things airs January 19 at 8:00pm.


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Military spouse wants more help for families of veterans with PTSD

Post by Guest on Wed 11 Jan 2017, 06:14

Military spouse wants more help for families of veterans with PTSD

Click on the link below to view video:

Jeff Lagerquist,
Published Tuesday, January 10, 2017 8:41PM EST

A military spouse who says she fled a mentally and emotionally abusive marriage to a veteran living with post-traumatic stress disorder is calling for more assistance for the families of troubled soldiers when they return home from the battlefield.

The woman, whose identity has been concealed for her protection, says her husband did tours in Afghanistan.

“When you’re in that situation you really don’t want to believe it to be abuse,” she said. “But when you hear it from your children, and they voice it out loud, and they tell you to run, it really makes it real.”

The woman claims her husband was never abusive during the many years they were married, but that changed when he came home from his time in Afghanistan a different man.

She says the stark similarities between her home life and the tragedy that unfolded in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., last week compelled her speak out on behalf of Canadian military families.

Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond and his wife Shanna were in counselling as the pair struggled to deal with his PTSD. He shot three members of his family, including 10-year-old daughter, and then himself in their home on Jan 3.

“When I heard her (Shanna Desmond’s) sister say that she had tried so hard, and the jealousy, the control, was exactly the same thing,” said the woman.
Her husband, she says, went to therapy and even spent time in the same military support unit as Desmond before being medically released.

She believes efforts by the medical community to involve family members in PTSD treatment will help those coping with the condition adjust more easily to life at home.

“Having contact with the family that are dealing with that member, because that member that’s in there is still going to present themselves as strong … just like they were over in Afghanistan,” she said.

Beyond that, she feels more needs to be done to heal the emotional and physical wounds inflicted by former soldiers on their loved ones. Once her divorce is finalized, she will lose the health benefits provided by Veterans Affairs. Medical expenses she says are a result of her husband’s PTSD, that she will soon have to cover out of her own pocket.

“I may not have gone overseas and done a tour physically, but I can honestly tell you, from speaking with other wives, our tour was at home, but our tour never ended when they came home.”


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B.C. couple shows military families path to healing from PTSD

Post by Guest on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 06:50

B.C. couple shows military families path to healing from PTSD

'It really is about both of us now,' says wife of Rwanda and Afghanistan vet

By Laura Lynch, CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2017 2:00 AM PT Last Updated: Jan 06, 2017 2:00 AM PT

Chris Linford (far right), with his wife Kathryn, their daughter Jennifer and sons Victor and Jeffrey at their home on Vancouver Island. (Chris Linford)

The melody Chris Linford picks out on his guitar is simple, even sweet. But when he sings the lyrics, a ghost begins to appear.

"Many years have passed by, and I still see your face," he sings. "I wonder what you'd be like and I recognize your grace."

Linford, 56, a former Canadian Armed Forces nurse who retired in 2014, learned to play the guitar and write songs as part of his recovery from PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chris Linford learned to write songs and play guitar as part of his PTSD recovery.

The song is about a 10-month-old girl he tried to save when he served in Rwanda. She died when he inserted a feeding tube incorrectly.

He has had to learn to forgive himself, even as he summons her memory.

In the kitchen of their home in the town of Sooke on Vancouver Island, Kathryn, 55, Linford's wife of three decades, listens. She has heard the song before.

More than that, she has lived a life with him that started out with love and joy, then became shrouded and dark.

Chris and Kathryn Linford struggled for years with the impact of PTSD.

Divorce and suicide threatened their family before they found their way through the damage caused by PTSD and back to each other.

People they met were baffled. "They couldn't figure out why we were still together," said Chris.

They are sharing their story in the same week that a tragedy unfolded in Nova Scotia, involving a Canadian veteran who suffered from PTSD.

A new mission

In the last year the Linfords have joined in a new mission: giving hope and understanding to other military families struggling with PTSD. They're offering a five-day intensive course for couples — COPE, Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday. It's aimed at helping them learn how to cope and how to support each other.

Chris also self-published Warrior Rising: A Soldier's Journey to PTSD and Back, a book about his experiences.

Prof. Tim Black of the University of Victoria helped the Linfords design the COPE program for military veterans and spouses.

Tim Black, a University of Victoria professor who specializes in treating veterans with PTSD, helped the Linfords design the course as a pilot project, and he's tracked the fate of the couples that enrolled in sessions over the last year.

"It's pretty modest to be sure, but it seems that even six months out what we are trying to accomplish in those five days is staying with them, six months after the fact, which is really big for us," said Black.

Rwanda and Afghanistan

According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 10 per cent of veterans suffer from PTSD.

For Linford, it started when he was deployed to Rwanda where he helped create a field hospital, then watched as the brutal genocide in 1994 left an estimated 800,000 people dead.

He was not diagnosed until nearly 10 years later.

Chris Linford worked as a nurse in Rwanda at a field hospital he helped establish in the 1990s.

After a year of treatment he was sent out again, this time to the base hospital at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan.

Linford tried to cope with a relentless stream of soldiers and civilians, bodies and lives torn apart by improvised explosive devices.

His mental health deteriorated, but when he returned he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel running a health services centre on a base near Victoria.

Linford served during Canada's mission in Afghanistan at the base hospital in Kandahar.

'Walking on eggshells'

Throughout his career, Kathryn supported him, moving a dozen times and raising their three children while Chris was away. But living with him was not easy.

"I was totally walking on eggshells. When the kids were younger, I often created an environment so everyone was on their best behaviours," she said.

The Linford family had to move a dozen times during Chris' military career, but living with PTSD was a much bigger challenge than being uprooted so often.

"It was very tiring for me because I was always on guard to what the kids were doing, making sure they were quiet or if they came home with a bad report card I hid it for quite a while until he was in a better frame of mind."

Chris admits to what he labels "significant" outbursts of anger that he now understands were caused by his trauma.

Lt.-Col. Chris Linford was officially diagnosed with PTSD 10 years after working in Rwanda. (Wounded Warriors Canada)

'My head was back there'

Then there were the everyday tasks that most people take for granted, such as grocery shopping.

He would become increasingly tense as they approached the meat section of the store.

"And once I smelled blood, if the butchers were in the back doing their work, I could pick up the smell of blood very, very quickly," he said.

Chris Linford says memories from his time in Rwanda continue to haunt him today. (Chris Linford)

"I knew what it was because as soon as I smell the blood I would be right back in Rwanda. My head was back there," he said.

"And if you put a lie detector on me I would probably pass it saying I was in Rwanda. That's how profound an experience it was."

He would quickly leave the store, leaving his wife wondering where he was and what had happened.

Wife's needs ignored

Chris was getting treatment and talking to a counsellor, but Kathryn felt her needs being ignored.

"I would notice myself getting angry and more resentful. And I literally felt myself just going down a hole and screaming, 'What about me?' and I really didn't see what was there for me," she said.

Kathryn Linford says it took years for her to realize how PTSD had also affected her.

For the couple, the turning point came when Chris finally admitted to her he had been "fantasizing" about committing suicide.

Kathryn said she was shocked and scared when Chris told her but it finally opened up communication between them.

She realized she too was a victim of PTSD.


Black, the professor, said Kathryn experienced "mirroring."

"Living with someone who is constantly vigilant, constantly on edge and constantly activated, people then start to take on some of those same symptoms themselves, simply because of the environment they are living in."

Chris and Kathryn Linford want to expand their program across Canada.

Black credits the Linfords with being honest and dedicated in trying to shape a program that would help others.

"We are trying to shift the focus away from the person with PTSD to say this is within the family," said Black.

'PTSD is in the home'

"PTSD is in the home. So here are some tools and some education that all of you can use and kind of come together as a team to fight this thing together."

Among the skills they teach are how to communicate, how to fight fair and when to leave one another alone, said Black.

The Linfords, who have led the course several times, are ready to let graduates take on some of the load.

They are also hoping to secure permanent funding to expand the program nationwide.

They have been working unpaid to share their wisdom and experience, but they say it has become the mission of their lives.

The Linfords have been very open about their family's struggle with PTSD.

pain and all the trouble had brought them to a better place.

"We had to do all that as a family, serving 33 years to be able to do this — to have the credibility and the background and the knowledge," said Chris .

Kathryn chimed in.

"It really is about both of us now."


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Canadian soldier with PTSD who says he was given ‘unwarranted demotion’ to have case reviewed

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 18:47

Canadian soldier with PTSD who says he was given ‘unwarranted demotion’ to have case reviewed

HEALTH   January 5, 2017 6:42 pm                Updated: January 5, 2017 6:49 pm

By Paola Loriggio  The Canadian Press

The logo for the Canadian Armed Forces is shown.

A Canadian Armed Forces soldier who was denied a promotion because his post-traumatic stress disorder prevented him from completing a required course should have his case re-evaluated to reflect the military’s greater understanding of the condition, a federal court has ruled.

Cpl. Joel Mousseau turned to the court to challenge what he called his “unwarranted demotion” from the rank of master corporal, which he held on an acting basis for four years before his condition led to his medical release from the military.

Several military bodies had previously upheld the decision and refused to waive a training requirement that would have forced Mousseau to take the Armoured Crew Command course.

In its decision, the federal court said the course had to do with armoured vehicles and explosives “which was directly related to the PTSD diagnosis.”

“It seems a bit of a ‘Catch 22’ to say that the soldier on (medical employment limitations) for PTSD must be exposed to the very thing that is a trigger to the PTSD though he had been doing an exemplary job of teaching other soldiers without the artillery course,” the court said.

“It is understood that the understanding of PTSD within our Armed Forces has progressed rapidly lately. In fairness to the decision maker the evidence and procedures for dealing with PTSD that can now be marshalled may not have been available or before them at the time.”

Watch below: For years, reports and studies have highlighted the issues veterans face trying to get mental health treatment. Why hasn’t the problem been solved? Vassy Kapelos reports.

Mousseau joined the Armed Forces in 2001 and served two tours in Afghanistan, the last of which ended in 2008, according to court documents. After his return, he was stationed at CFB Wainwright in Alberta and appointed in 2010 to the rank of acting master corporal.

He was then transferred to the joint personnel support unit in Edmonton in 2012 as a result of his condition and a year later, a medical officer recommended Mousseau be assigned a permanent medical designation, the documents say.

A few months later, Mousseau was told he would have to give up his acting rank before retiring because he had not completed the required course.

The revocation was made official in the summer of 2014 and upheld by several military reviews, including one by the Chief of the Defence Staff, who has direct responsibility for the command, control and administration of the Canadian Forces.

The Chief of Defence Staff refused to use his discretionary power to waive the requirement and award Mousseau the rank of master corporal, agreeing with an earlier decision that Mousseau had been treated fairly.

The court disagreed that Mousseau had been given fair consideration for his condition.

“It was an unreasonable decision given the evidence of his particular situation and the lack of transparency of why he was not treated the same as others in similar situations that were retired without the course or reversion of the rank,” the court said.

Mousseau has been granted a judicial review but the court said it could not award him damages or a reinstatement of rank.


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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Wed 04 Jan 2017, 08:43

May they rest in peace.
My heart bleeds everyday and this saddens me to no extent.
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Sun 01 Jan 2017, 15:30

Privacy breaches

A privacy breach is the loss of, unauthorized access to, or disclosure of, personal information.

Some of the most common privacy breaches happen when personal information is stolen, lost or mistakenly shared. A privacy breach may also be a consequence of faulty business procedures or operational breakdowns.

Learn more about privacy breaches and how organizations should respond if they experience breach.

Primary Interest (OPIs)

Offices of Primary Interest (OPIs) are responsible for taking immediate action to stop the breach and to secure the affected records, systems or web sites by:

Attempting to retrieve any documents or copies of documents that were wrongfully disclosed or taken by an unauthorized person; and
Returning the documents to their original location or to the intended recipient unless retention is necessary for evidentiary purposes. To determine the latter, institutions should consult legal counsel.

OPIs are to also document the privacy breach by:

Taking inventory of the personal information that was or may have been compromised;
Identifying the parties whose personal information has been wrongfully disclosed or accessed, stolen or lost;

Information and Privacy (ATIP) Coordinator or the delegated authority for privacy as well as the Departmental Security Officer (DSO). Most privacy breaches involve a breach of security. It is important to involve the ATIP Coordinator or delegated authority and the DSO to ensure that the privacy of individuals and the security of assets are taken into account in the resolution process.

ATIP Coordinator and their offices are responsible for investigating and managing the life cycle of a privacy breach and notifying TBS and the OPC when required.

Institutions should document every decision to not notify the OPC and the TBS in a standard corporate record, including the supporting rationale.

notifying individuals whose personal information has been wrongfully disclosed, stolen or lost.

To the extent possible, it is strongly recommended that institutions notify all affected individuals whose personal information has been or may have been compromised through theft, loss or unauthorized disclosure, especially if the breach:
, or personal identifiers such as the Social Insurance Number;
Can result in identity theft or some other related fraud; or
Can otherwise cause harm or embarrassment detrimental to the individual's career, reputation, financial position, safety, health or Involves sensitive personal data such as financial or medical information well-being.
Notification should occur as soon as possible following the breach to allow individuals to take actions to protect themselves against, or mitigate the damage from, identity theft or other possible harm.
Consult with the DSO and with law enforcement authorities to determine whether notification should be delayed to ensure that any possible investigation is not compromised.
Care should be exercised in the notification process to not unduly alarm individuals, especially where the institution only suspects but cannot confirm that certain individuals have been affected by the breach.
It is always preferable to notify affected individuals by letter (first class recommended), by telephone or in person, unless the individuals cannot be located or the number of individuals is so large that the task would become too onerous. Sample letters can be found in the Privacy Breach Management Toolkit.
In such cases, the institution could post a conspicuous notice on its web site or on log-in screens used to access departmental data and/or use major local or national media (television, radio, newspapers and magazines). The institution should use electronic mail only when the individual has previously consented to the receipt of electronic notices.

For more info

Guidelines for Privacy Breaches
Canadians value their privacy and the protection of their personal information. They expect government institutions to respect the spirit and requirements of the Privacy Act (the Act). The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the privacy of individuals with respect to the personal informa...

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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Sat 31 Dec 2016, 07:56

CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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New research may offer hope for post-traumatic stress treatment

Post by Guest on Fri 30 Dec 2016, 15:46

New research may offer hope for post-traumatic stress treatment

Experiment blocks receptor responsible for creating brain hyperactivity, but timing is key

By Nicole Mortillaro, CBC News Posted: Dec 30, 2016 12:22 PM ET Last Updated: Dec 30, 2016 1:25 PM ET

Following a traumatic incident, it can take days for symptoms to appear.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be a debilitating condition. It's estimated that it affects nearly one in 10 Canadian veterans who served in Afghanistan. Now, there's promising research that could lead to the treatment of the disorder.

Following a particularly traumatic event — one where there is the serious threat of death or a circumstance that was overwhelming — we often exhibit physical symptoms immediately. But the effects in our brains actually take some time to form. That's why symptoms of PTSD — reliving an event, nightmares, anxiety — don't show up until some time later.

Research has shown that, after such an event, the hippocampus — which is important in dealing with emotions and memory — shrinks, while our amygdala — also important to memory and emotions — becomes hyperactive.

In earlier research, Sumantra Chattarji from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (inStem), in Bangalore, India, discovered that traumatic events cause new nerve connections to form in the amygdala, which also causes hyperactivity. This plays a crucial role in people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Chattarji has been studying changes in the brain after traumatic events for more than a decade. In an earlier study, he concluded that a single stress event had no immediate event on the amygdala of rats.

However, 10 days later, the rats exhibited increased anxiety. There were even changes to the brain, and, in particular the amygdala. So Chattarji set out to see if there was a way to prevent these changes.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can seriously affect those who have served in the military. New research may help to one day prevent that.

The new research focused on a particular cell receptor in the brain, called N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor (NMDA-R), which is crucial in forming memories.

"Clearly in PTSD, it's the memory of the trauma that keeps coming back, and that becomes the debilitating symptom: you want to forget, but you can't forget," Chattarji told CBC News.

So, in the experiment, the researchers blocked NMDA-R during the traumatic episode. The results were encouraging: first, no new nerve connections formed, and secondly, there was no hyperactivity in the amygdala 10 days later.

Timing is key

"For the first time we've identified a potential therapeutic target which can be acted upon to block the delayed effects of stress," Chattarji said.

But the key is timing.

"We cannot wake up every morning and, in anticipation of stress, just take a pill," Chattarji said.

Instead, the next step in the research is determining how soon after the episode — or even how long after — the receptor can be blocked and produce similar results. Ascertaining this would lead to potentially therapies for those living with PTSD, Chattarji said.

"What we're trying to do is to see how long after the end of stress can we still make this intervention and block the effects," he said.

Initial results from followup research suggest they can block the receptor an hour and even up to a day after the stress-induced event.

Now, a generic blocking of the NMDA-R would have implications on forming new memories in general.

"Since NMDA receptors are needed for forming memories — a generic blocking will indeed be a problem. That is why we cannot simply block this receptor in anticipation of a traumatic experience, because that may impair the formation of other memories as well," Chattraji said.

"However, at the time of the trauma, having the blocker on board would help prevent that experience from becoming of the source of subsequent emotional symptoms in the amygdala.

"So, it is a fine balance."


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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 06:12

The audacity of those who've never served a minute of their lives!
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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Thu 22 Dec 2016, 05:59

Service dogs help veterans with PTSD. Why won’t Ottawa?

This doesn’t surprise me, really. It sounded like it surprised the reporter who talked with VAC. Welcome to our world.
VAC is notorious for D&D (Deny and Die). It starts with your first claim. 90% of them are denied off the bat. Then the claimant has 3 tries to get them to change their mind. Of my claims, 3 were approved the first time out, 1 approved after one appeal, 1 approved after three appeals, and 1 was denied all the way through.
VAC has a history of knowing the facts but not hearing them. ie: Medical Marijuana is saving veterans, but VAC has decided to not only cut back what a veteran is allowed to have (overriding the doctor’s prescription… another standard procedure with VAC – just because the doctor said the person requires it doesn’t mean VAC has to follow the order. Interesting…) but they’ve also cut back the amount of money they will spend on it. No matter what the market is selling for.
Screwing around the veterans who need a PTSD animal is SOP for them. They know what the success rate is, but it’s incumbent upon the veteran to purchase this animal and not get a tax break for it because VAC is deciding what’s best for the claimant, and not following the doctor’s orders.
VAC is very big on making sure the claimant has an MD’s report, with a G.P. given more weight than a specialist in many cases. But VAC also contradicts itself at every turn, telling claimants that just because their doctor said they needed XYZ, doesn’t mean they’re going to get it. Once again their bureaucracy takes precedence over the health and wellbeing of those who served this country. It’s mind-boggling that this department is directly responsible for so many deaths and yet they refuse to change their ways, refuse to move quickly, refuse to help…
So they deny and hope you die before they make their decision. Welcome to the world of VAC.
PS: It’s NEVER “The HMCS…”anything. In this case it should have been “HMCS Nipigon’s Heli Det” as HMCS is short for Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship so it makes zero sense to be “the Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship…”

Reply ↓

Mary Harrison on December 19, 2016 at 10:51 am

There is a proven treatment and cure for PTSD that is a lot cheaper and more reliable than a ‘servus dawg’. If the government gives in they’ll have load of people with unpredictable pit bull ‘servus dawgs’.

Reply ↓

Kathryn Dunigan on December 19, 2016 at 4:49 pm

Personally i think the Vets are running Veterans affairs, not the government. My dad, 2 uncles and 2 grandfathers were all vets serving in both wars, and they were alive today, they would say what a bunch of whiny vets. I went in the military when i was young, and it was because i couldn’t find work, and the Army paid you, and most of the people are in the forces because of the same reason. If this was conscripted military, than i would agree with some of these perks the forces members like to have, let them buy there own dogs, taxpayers have to pay for these dogs and 10 grams of pot a day, if your taking 10 grams of pot a day(2/3rds of a pound of weed and month payed by Canadian taxpayers, $2500.00), you should have yourself checked into a detox center, your taking too much pot. I use medical pot everyday for the last 5 years, and let me tell you, i take 1 gram a day, and that is plenty for anyone, if your getting 10 grams a day, your selling it on the streets. Time for these veterans to grow up, and stop sucking the taxpayer dry for every little issue that goes on in your lives. Just imagine feeding the so called injured vets $25,000 a year to feed them with pot, and a dog to boot. My dad or uncles, or grandparents didn’t ever receive as much as a headstone for their service in the country, and they were all conscripted vets, and these new vets today wants dogs and pot. I would suggest to the Canadian Forces, make sure the screening process for soldiers, not warriors, entering or military service are medically and physically fit, not half fit.

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carpet bomber on December 20, 2016 at 6:49 am


PTSD seems to be the biggest scapegoat in the world these days for mental illness, and sometimes i think its a little over the top, you can suffer PSTD if you spill hot coffee over you, where is the limit with this PTSD, what an easy medical disguise to convince bleeding heart doctors, thats another problem, bleeding heart doctors.

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Service dogs help veterans with PTSD. Why won’t Ottawa?

Post by Guest on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 10:22

Service dogs help veterans with PTSD. Why won’t Ottawa?

Evan Solomon
December 18, 2016

Medric Cousineau with Thai, his service dog

“I went down into a virtual floating slaughter house,” says Medric Cousineau. I can hear the catch in his voice as the retired RCAF Captain recalled the terrible night of October 6, 1986, when he rescued two badly injured Americans from a fishing boat. It was a vicious North Atlantic storm. The two fisherman had been sucked through the hydraulic line hauler and almost butchered.

Cousineau—people just call him Cous—was a member of the HMCS Nipigon Helicopter Detachment and he had volunteered to be lowered down from the helicopter onto the boat to try to rescue the men. Bucking waves threw him over-board into the freezing ocean, but somehow Cous managed to climb back on the pitching deck and evacuate the two bleeding men. He was awarded the Star of Courage for his actions. “Had Lt. Cousineau not willingly put his own life in jeopardy, both of the injured men would certainly have died,” the declaration of bravery concluded.

That event changed Medric Cousineau forever. Although the country regards him as a hero, the personal cost of his actions was devastating. “That night just never went away,” Cous says. He began to have “dissociative events” and had to stop flying because he felt he was a danger to others. He didn’t realize for years that he was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but soon it took over his life. “For three decades, I’ve battled panic attacks, night terrors and multiple addictions.” He contemplated suicide. At times he felt so numb that he stabbed himself with pins or drove his car at 100 miles an hour through side streets “just to feel something.” Cous is not proud of these moments but he doesn’t shy away from talking about them. “It ain’t pretty,” he says.

Cous, the man awarded the star of courage for rescuing others, believes he would be dead today if he wasn’t rescued as well, but not by a person. Medric Cousineau was rescued by a yellow lab named Thai.

It wasn’t just any dog. Thai is a psychiatric service dog, an animal specially trained to help people facing health challenges. As the PTSD took over Cous’ life, a friend recommended he get a psychiatric Service dog but Cous was so broke, he couldn’t even afford one. Finally, the local Legion stepped in and helped him out. What happened next was remarkable. “On August 6, 2012 I got my psychiatric service dog and my life changed dramatically,” Cous says. “By Christmas that year, my daughter came home to see me and she was awestruck.” Thai had totally changed him. Cous was calmer, happier. When he woke up at 4:30am in midst of a night terror—he still does to this day—Thai was there to soothe him, to remind him he was off the boat and safe. She still does. “I was injured before my daughter was born and she had never seen me like this, never met this man before and she said, ‘whatever you are doing, keep doing it’.” He did even more.

Cousineau became an activist, starting a group called Paws Fur Thought, a Nova Scotia based organization that helps vets get psychiatric service dogs. To raise money and awareness for his cause, Cous walked from Nova Scotia to the War Museum in Ottawa, over 1,000 km, a journey he wrote about in his book Further Than Yesterday. He began to give motivational speeches and turned his life around, helping over 70 other veterans get psychiatric service dogs.

This should be the end of the story, a Christmas tale of redemption and help, how one vet had his life saved by a dog and went on to help others. But it’s not that kind of story. Instead, it’s the story of Medric Cousineau’s next big battle, one pitting veterans against the government, a battle that is still going today.

If a veteran suffers from epilepsy, blindness, deafness or a myriad of other conditions, the government helps them get a service dog though a tax credit. It is quite simple: a veteran makes a claim for the care and maintenance of a service dog under the disability tax credit certificate, which is part of the Canada Revenue Agency Act and in most cases they get it. But here is the catch: a veteran with PTSD is not eligible.

Veterans Affairs Canada does not recognize psychiatric service dogs as a legitimate treatment for PTSD. “This is just basic discrimination,” Cous says about the situation.

For the past few years, Cous has asked various Ministers of Veterans affairs to work with the finance department to change the tax credit and let vets with PTSD get support for their service dog but so far nothing has changed. I contacted the government to find out why they won’t include vets in what looks like a simple change to the tax code to help out these vets. “The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a pilot study to evaluate whether the use of psychiatric service dogs is a safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder,” the department told me. “VAC has also sought to establish a set of national standards to provide assurance that the psychiatric service dogs being provided to Veterans are properly trained and meet standardized behavior requirements.” So, when will all this get done? “Both of these projects are expected to be complete by December 2017. At [that] time, we will review the findings and determine next steps.”

I passed on these comments to Cous and he was livid. “This is a DBM letter, a Don’t bother Me Letter,” he said. “They completely miss the mark. Psychiatric service dog handlers are being held to different standards than other service dog handlers as embedded in the Income Tax Act. This is a clear case of discrimination on the basis of disability. They see this as a “service dog efficacy and standards” issue when it is a Human Rights Issue. ”

I went back to the department to find out when they might make a change but they punted the issue to the Finance department, who would have to make the change. So I asked them if Finance Minister Bill Morneau might make the change right now, in time for Christmas. No dice. “Finance Canada looks forward to receiving the results of these projects,” they wrote to me, referring to the Veterans affairs study. “They will provide important evidence as the department considers whether the list of eligible expenses should be expanded to include psychiatric service dogs. The list of expenses eligible for the Medical Expense Tax Credit is reviewed on an ongoing basis in light of medically-related developments and new technologies.”

Let me translate this. Nothing is happening right now. That’s not going make people happy. The former NDP MP and veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer has met with Medric and doesn’t buy the government’s explanation. “No other service dog for other groups had to go through this process,” Stoffer says, dismissing the government’s position as a delay tactic, but one with deadly consequences. “They wish to wait until December 2017 then maybe put it in a budget for spring 2018, which means that the credit will be done in the late fall of 2018, almost two years from now, “ Stoffer says. “This year alone 19 service personal have taken their own lives. These service dogs for people suffering mental injuries save lives and give back worth to the individual. Nothing is stopping the government from doing this today.”

Why they won’t is hard to understand. This is not an issue of money, as the tax credit would cost the government next to nothing. It’s not an issue of politics, because this government repeats that it listens to the needs of veterans, so you would think this would be a no brainer. And it doesn’t appear to be an issue of medical study, because, as Stoffer says, no other group has ever been held to the same standards. The Veterans Affairs office told me they are only aware of 36 veterans who use service dogs, but Cous himself has placed 72 through his own organization, information he says he’s passed on to VAC. What it starts to look like is tone deafness.

This week the Royal Canadian Legion sent letters to both the ministers of finance and veterans affairs asking for a change to the tax code on this and Cous is thinking of filing a human rights complaint.

“This could have been a great Christmas story,” Cous says. “It could have been the department helping out veterans with service dogs. Renew their faith in the government. Instead, I’m likely going to file a human rights complaint about discrimination. I would have died for this country. I’ve demonstrated that, and this is what we get. I’m furious.”


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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

Post by Dannypaj on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 06:11

Canada has a very excellent Cadet program who engage thousands of children from ages 12 to 18, so Canada has no children soldiers?  
Pretty sure I have seen many dressed like mini soldiers.
I would be a hypocrites if I was to say differently.  
I was being trained (exposed) at CFB Baden, pretty sure I was under sixteen.

Last edited by Dannypaj on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 12:11; edited 1 time in total
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Dallaire’s on a mission and it’s not impossible

Post by Guest on Mon 19 Dec 2016, 05:38

Dallaire’s on a mission and it’s not impossible

Child soldiers in conflicts around the world has exploded, but Roméo Dallaire's Child Soldiers Initiative is having a global impact on preventing the use of child soldiers. And it's the only initiative of its kind in the world.

PUBLISHED : Monday, Dec. 19, 2016 12:00 AM
OTTAWA—At the end of his powerful and painfully honest memoir, Waiting For First Light: My Ongoing Battle With PTSD, Roméo Dallaire says he was surprised to discover how much he wants to live today.

“As I approach the end of this book, I’m also approaching my 70th birthday. I am surprised to find that I am angry at that number—angry that I might be running out of time. For the first time since I returned from Rwanda, I am surprised to realize that my wish to end my life has been trumped by a desire to stay alive and continue my mission. I’m angry I don’t have more time to keep working on behalf of child soldiers, on behalf of veterans on PTSD. As I race around the globe, meeting with heads of state and international organizations—Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Jordan, Iraq, and the Hague this month alone—I’m angry that I can’t do more. And I understand that the anger comes from a place of hope,” Mr. Dallaire writes.

The retired lieutenant-general, former Liberal Senator, and former force commander for UNAMIR in 1993 who tried unsuccessfully to get the world to stop the 1994 Rwandan genocide and left the mission broken, tortured, and suicidal, said in an interview with The Hill Times recently that he has a powerful purpose in his life and it’s to continue his mission, the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

Mr. Dallaire talked more about the initiative than his new book, Waiting For First Light, which he said are both part of dealing with his ongoing PTSD.

“It’s a question of managing it and with therapy, and medication, and peer support and, particularly, to give it a focus, to build a prosthesis to be on top of the constant assaults that it creates in your mind, and I came to discover that committing to humanitarian effort, to something human, to refocus the life, was a significant answer,” said the former top political and military figure in the interview about his book and his Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative.

The book is his story and the initiative is his way of giving back to the world.

The initiative is the only one of its kind in the world and he and his executive director Shelly Whitman, who run it out of Dalhousie University in Halifax along with a team, are seeing global results to their security-sector approach to prevent the use and recruitment of child soldiers in conflicts around the world. The team works with police, military, and peacekeepers to prevent and eventually eradicate the use of child soldiers in wars. It educates and trains soldiers to deal with child soldiers when confronted in wars. The team gives soldiers the tactical framework and the tools to face children and to reduce the levels of force in order to “stop them from having to kill kids,” by extracting them, keeping them alive, and making them less and less effective.

Child-protection officers on missions are also helping troops to understand and to react differently, de-escalating the frictions and the conflicts, and extracting child soldiers, he said.

“It’s getting momentum in the Northern Hemisphere and it has significant momentum in the Southern Hemisphere where they’ve signed MOUs: Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Colombia,” said Mr. Dallaire. “We go in and convince these guys that they have a liability here and they don’t have an effective weapons system. We were in South Sudan and we were able to get 300 kids out.”

It’s funded by donations and in part by Wounded Warriors Canada, but it’s also looking for federal government funding for two upcoming major projects. Members of its international advisory committee include Maurice Baril, former Sierra Leone child soldier Ishmael Beah, Patrick Cammaert, Michel Chikwanine, Nigel Fisher, Robert Fowler, Mobina Jaffer, Paul Martin, James Orbinski, Gérard Veilleux, and Jody Williams.

One of their recent graduates went to Sierra Leone to train more than 400 police officers who were deployed to peacekeeping operations around the world.

Their team is also working in Uganda and it helped the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague to bring in a new policy to prosecute people who are recruiting children, which is a crime against humanity. They’ve run round tables with child soldiers and helped NATO build its standing operating procedures. NATO also asked Mr. Dallaire’s team to train their commanders.

They just returned from the U.K. where the British are going to amend their doctrine and adopt the security-sector approach, and Holland is also looking at it. The Canadian Forces have adopted it and are now finalizing Mr. Dallaire’s doctrine on child soldiers and Canadian soldiers will be trained under the UN Security Council resolutions, he said.

Mr. Dallaire’s team is also researching new tactics to disarm child soldiers and has found that women have a bigger impact on influencing child soldiers than men in conflict scenarios. They’re also training the forces deployed to look at the children differently so there’s a higher level of respect and recognition. The trainers are trained for three to five years “to change the ethos,” said Mr. Dallaire.

“Remembering that many of these conflicts in these imploding nations, the mobilization for that, are the children, not the adults. They’ll mobilize the children in the thousands and thousands before they get adults to play in this stuff,” said Mr. Dallaire.

They do practical training by putting trainers through 11 scenario-based interactions on how to prepare them, so the first time they see a child soldier isn’t on the battlefield in order that they’re prepared “to interact when a child is at a checkpoint with a gun, or when a child is being used as a human shield or a sex slave,” said Ms. Whitman. “So we walk through those in a very practical approach.”

Ms. Whitman said there are troops that don’t even want to go into conflicts where there are child soldiers, but they need to be trained.

“It’s to the point now that we have built a really strong cadre of trained trainers who are now also going around the world, on our behalf, and taking it upon themselves in putting that into their training indoctrinate. We couple that with the education program that we’re doing for children between the ages of 8 and 12 to teach them about prevention and their own self-protection, so it’s creating a national system and we’re starting to export that to other country contacts as well,” said Ms. Whitman.

The SOS Children’s Villages estimates that since 1998, child soldiers have been involved in 36 countries. Over the last 15 years, for instance, 10,000 children have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. It estimates that two million children have been killed in conflicts and more than 10 million have been left with serious psychological trauma.

The use of child soldiers has exploded in conflicts around the world, said Mr. Dallaire, because they’re cheap, used a tactical and strategic advantage, and are easily manipulated to kill.

“The whole construct of conflict now is based on using children as a primary weapons system. It’s not a sideshow anymore. It’s a mainstay, like ISIS and so on, and so unless we face that, and tactics face that, we’re also taking casualties, which brings you back to, ‘How many kids can our guys kill before they can’t live with themselves?’ and there’s got to be another way of making those children ineffective, without having to use, necessarily, lethal force. So we believe both that we’re going to be reducing casualties in the children’s side, but we’re going to be reducing casualties on our side too by in fact giving them better tools and better prepared to fact this type of threat,” says Mr. Dallaire.

The first time he saw a child soldier in Rwanda, he didn’t actually recognize he was a soldier. In the Rwandan genocide, an estimated 500,000 to one million Tutsis were slaughtered by the Hutus in a 100-day period between April to mid-July 1994. “So a 13-year-old with an AK47 at a checkpoint is totally unpredictable and can pull the trigger just by accident while an adult at least has a different negotiating premise to work from,” said Mr. Dallaire.

Ms. Whitman said one of greatest antidotes for soldiers with PTSD who have been in conflicts with child soldiers is training them to prevent the use of child soldiers.

“If it’s a moral injury that you have incurred, you address that moral injury by doing something that is also moral in its approach and that’s why focusing on children and trying to do things like ending child shoulders is so incredibly valuable,” Ms. Whitman said.

ISIS, for instance, also targets young Western children for generational warfare, showing children being trained for horrific acts of violence in order to send a clear message, said Ms. Whitman. “If you want to come here and if you want to enter this war on the ground, this what you’re going to have to cope with.”

The team is also helping police forces in Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, and Halifax to deal with youth gangs and extreme violence.

Today, Mr. Dallaire is one of the world’s leading humanitarians and he’s proud of his initiative’s work. He said Waiting for First Light is another way to handle his ongoing PTSD, which he deals with every day.

“The book is about living with that and trying to find a way out of it, and the output of that is mourning the old guy who used to be there, realizing the one there will never be what he used to be, and if anything comes out of that, it’s to make veterans realize that they can live with it and even blossom with it by getting back into engaging with human beings,” said Mr. Dallaire.

Mr. Dallaire, who won the Governor General’s Literary Award for his book Shake Hands with the Devil, which exposed the world’s failure to stop the Rwandan genocide, has also received a number of awards, including the Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and the United Nations Association in Canada’s Pearson Peace Medal in 2005. His second book, They Fight Like Soldiers, They Die Like Children, was a national bestseller.

Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle With PTSD, by Roméo Dallaire with Jessica Dee Humphreys, Random House Canada, 184 pp., $32.

The Hill Times


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Uneven tax rules for PTSD service dogs is 'discrimination': vets advocate

Post by Guest on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 06:04

Uneven tax rules for PTSD service dogs is 'discrimination': vets advocate

Jeff Lagerquist,
Published Friday, December 16, 2016 8:52PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 16, 2016 11:12PM EST

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the previous Conservative government of “nickel and diming” Canada’s veterans and vowed to deliver “respect, support and a real shot at a bright future” for those that served during the 2015 election campaign.

But unanswered calls for a tax break on service dogs for people with post-traumatic stress disorder has raised accusations of discrimination.

Veterans that rely on service dogs to cope with PTSD are not afforded the same write-offs as service dog owners with chronic conditions like epilepsy or autism because PTSD is not on the government’s list of eligible conditions.

Retired Capt. Medric Cousineau is working to convince the government that needs to change. He’s frustrated by the lack of attention to what he says amounts to a human rights issue.

“This is representative of the distain that has been shown to the veteran’s community,” he told CTV’s Power Play on Friday. “All we want is equality, no more, no less.”
Cousineau, who was awarded the Star of Courage for his service with the Royal Canadian Air Force, is the founder of Paws Fur Thought, a volunteer group that works to pair service dogs with veterans in need. He says the number of former service members requesting tax assistance for their service dogs is small, but that does not excuse the dismissive response.

“I opened the dialogue on the tenth of February and the first response I got back was from Minister Morneau’s office in the middle of July. He didn’t answer the questions,” he said.

A statement from Annie Donolo, a spokesperson for Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a pilot study to evaluate the use of service dogs as a treatment for PTSD as well as form national standards for psychiatric service dog training.

“The inconvenient truth of the matter is the study that they are talking about involves 26 dogs. I placed 10 of those dogs in the study,” said Cousineau. “If we are lucky, it will hit the budget in 2018, (and be) implemented in 2019.”

That wait could cost lives. A report from the top medical officer in the Canadian Forces examining the 18 service members who died of suicide in 2015 found five of those individuals had a trauma or stress-related disorder. The 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey found more than 11 per cent of regular forces personnel met the criteria for PTSD at some point in their life.

Service dogs like Cousineau’s yellow Labrador “Thai” are specially trained to sense his partner’s triggers, prevent anxiety attacks, stop night terrors, and encourage positive coping mechanisms. He believes broader access to tax benefits for service dog owners could be life-changing for low-income veterans who would not otherwise be able to afford one.

Those who support the proposed change to the federal tax legislation have been using the Twitter hashtag #DiscriminationIsUnCanadian to raise the issue with Trudeau and Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr.

“They see this as a service dog issue when in fact this is categorically a human rights one. We’re not being treated the same as other disabled Canadians,” said Cousineau. “We are being discriminated against.”


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NS veterans want Medical Expense Tax Credit to include psychiatric service dogs

Post by Guest on Fri 16 Dec 2016, 16:20

CANADA December 16, 2016 4:52 pm

NS veterans want Medical Expense Tax Credit to include psychiatric service dogs

By Sean Previl

Medric Cousineau's service dog Thai lies on the floor of a Province House hallway in Halifax on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

Nova Scotia veterans, politicians and members of the public advocating for recognition of PTSD and other psychiatric service dogs are calling on the federal government to allow for the animals to be covered under the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC).

Veterans, many of whom were accompanied by service dogs, as well as politicians and the public gathered at Province House on Thursday to raise awareness and call on the government to recognize how the service dogs help people medically.

Retired captain Medric Cousineau of the Royal Canadian Air Force and founder of Paws Fur Thought – which helps veterans get qualified psychiatric service dogs – said service dogs can be used by people with various needs — but not everyone recognizes that.

“Once we step into public with our dog, because we’re not visually impaired, it often leads to inappropriate questions, finger pointing, stares, it’s stigmatizing enough,” said Cousineau, who was joined Thursday by his own service dog, Thai. “In a lot of cases [it] is because of unawareness.”

According to Paws fur Thought’s website, service dogs are therapy dogs to be used “in conjunction with traditional therapies” like medication and counselling. The Mental Health Foundation also says on its website the dogs are trained to “sense and react to their partner’s triggers and physiology.” The foundation says the dogs help their partners by preventing anxiety attacks, diverting attention and providing other coping mechanisms.

Cousineau told Global News having a service animal can have a big impact on a person’s life, but for those with PTSD like himself, it can be a different story.

“What they don’t see is these dogs are our lifeline, they are our medical appliance, they are our wheelchairs for our minds for want of a better word,” Cousineau said.

He said adding psychiatric service dogs into the tax code could allow veterans and other owners of these dogs, such as first responders, to save a few hundred dollars a year.

Currently animals listed as eligible under the tax credit, according to the Canada Revenue Agency, are those assigned to people who are blind, “profoundly deaf,” severely affected by autism or epilepsy, have severe diabetes or have a severe or prolonged impairment restricting the use of their arms or legs.

But Cousineau said those who qualify for a Disablity Tax Credit – required to apply for the METC – can’t get the medical tax credit because they and their service animal do not fall under those eligibility requirements.

He said he has been in touch with several members of the federal government including Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, but feels not enough is being done.

His press secretary, Annie Donolo, said in a statement Friday to Global News that wrote the government reviews and expands the list of eligible expenses on an ongoing basis. She also wrote that the Department of Veterans Affairs launched a “pilot study” to look into whether psychiatric service dogs are a “safe and effective treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder” and is also seeking to establish national standards to “provide assurance” service dogs meet proper training and behaviour standards.

“Finance Canada looks forward to receiving the results of these projects,” Donolo wrote. “They will provide important evidence as the department considers whether the list of eligible expenses should be expanded to include psychiatric service dogs.”

But Cousineau said the government isn’t moving fast enough.

“It is a one-line fix,” Cousineau said. “We are not asking you to reinvent fire, the wheel, or split the atom, all we’re asking them for is to do what’s right.”

Former Sackville-Eastern Shore NDP MP Peter Stoffer said studies have taken place before.

“You don’t treat an injury with delay, you treat an injury with speed and efficiency,” Stoffer said.

Cousineau, Stoffer, and Canadian veteran Sgt. Stuart Rodgers, were also joined by Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Jamie Baillie and N.S. NDP house leader Dave Wilson who both pushed for change.

Baillie, whose party introduced the Psychiatric Service Dogs Tax Credit Act in the legislature in April, said trying to persuade the federal government to make the change nationally has caused frustration.

“We’re trying to fix an injustice,” Baillie told Global News. “People with PTSD and mental illness deserve equal treatment to people with physical illness under our tax code and the government in Ottawa, even the Liberal government here provincially, they have the power to make that happen.”

Wilson said Ottawa needs “not to discriminate” against those with mental illness who have service dogs – which can include veterans and first responders – and the issue is something all political parties should look at.

“This issue transcends political lines,” Wilson said. “I think Canadians of all political stripes support improving services for our veterans, [and] for first responders.”

A letter from the Royal Canadian Legion’s dominion president David Flannigan also called on the government to “take immediate action” and consider “the addition of mental illness” to the tax credit.


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Re: The Defence Department has sent a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder a bill for $427.97

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