Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

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Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 11 Nov 2015, 18:23

OTTAWA — It was chilly March day when former master corporal Collin Fitzgerald — one of the country’s most highly decorated Afghan war veterans — decided that the way he wanted to go out was in a spray of police bullets.

It was, he believed at the time, the only thing he could do to wash away the pain of his crumbling marriage and to erase from his mind the faces of dead Taliban fighters that haunted him each night, every time he closed his eyes.

“I was done with life and everything,” Fitzgerald told The Canadian Press. “And I cannot truly say to you what that feels like, but is a very hollow, shallow, cold place to be.”

He tried everything. Nothing worked.

“Therapy. The alcohol had run its course, the (prescription) drugs had run their courses; I was done,” he said. “You just want the pain to be done. I get it.”

But the fact he found the strength to go on living for his daughter, and to eventually face justice after holding police at bay for five hours at his home in Iroquois, Ont., south of Ottawa, was just the start of his nightmare.

Fitzgerald soon encountered another chilling reality: that Canada’s justice system often treats troubled veterans as threats to public safety.

After an eight-month investigation, The Canadian Press has found that the federal government allowed key findings in the tragic shooting death of another troubled veteran with severe post traumatic stress disorder to gather dust.

The B.C. coroner’s office investigated the September 2012 RCMP killing of retired corporal Gregory Matters and made several recommendations to both National Defence and Veterans Affairs, including making mental health professionals available to police emergency response teams who deal with troubled veterans.

Letters obtained by CP, dated from the summer of 2014 and addressed to the coroner, show that both federal departments believe they are doing enough to reach and treat troubled military members.

The fear of violence among returning soldiers is not entirely without justification, if a small but growing list of serious crimes perpetrated by ex-soldiers is any indication.

In Ottawa former warrant officer Howard Richmond is on trial for the 2013 stabbing death of his wife. Richmond’s lawyer is arguing his client should be found not criminally responsible due to post-traumatic stress.

And there have been others, including the case last year of Guillaume Gelinas, 22, a former Quebec reservist and Afghan veteran who is accused of killing his father and stepmother.

In Calgary, Glen Gordon Gieschen hatched a plot to attack a local Veterans Affairs office, but was stopped before he could carry out the bloody rampage.

And police in Ottawa last year took a man into custody who walked into the local veterans office with a duffel bag that he claimed contained explosives.

It’s tough for society to know how to deal with people who carry around the unseen scars of war, Fitzgerald acknowledged, but he argues law enforcement and the justice system in Canada need a more sophisticated approach to dealing with potentially violent veterans than simply sending in the emergency response team.

In his case, he has been taken down at least twice by a police team with Kevlar vests and high-powered rifles — once at his parents’ home last year when the Ontario Provincial Police only suspected him of breaching bail conditions.

Caution should be expected, but Fitzgerald said the full militarized response of some forces is a recipe for tragedy.

“I was a soldier and I was trained to close and destroy the enemy,” he said in an interview. “What do you think goes through a soldier’s mind when they see someone coming at them like that? The response is instinctive.”

Faced with his own life-and-death decision, Fitzgerald — who received the Medal of Military Valour for action in Kandahar — surrendered. Following the standoff with police on March 9, 2013, he was charged with a number of offences to which he pleaded guilty.

But since then, the run-ins with the law have kept coming, and Fitzgerald claims to have been on the receiving end of a police campaign to run him out of his hometown of Morrisburg, Ont.

At the moment, Fitzgerald still faces a series of charges, including intimidating a police officer and breaching bail conditions — both of which he denies. The Crown, in the case of the breach charge, has evidence that proves the ex-soldier’s innocence, but recently told his lawyer that they’ll proceed to trial in early December.

He said he feels lucky that he didn’t end up with a bullet in his back like Matters, who was involved in a 30-hour standoff and battled his own demons after 15 years in uniform on some of the most gruesome overseas tours, including Bosnia.

Sometimes only soldiers can talk to other soldiers, and having a veteran on call with police and local emergency response teams is a common-sense idea that needs to be addressed as more cases emerge, said Fitzgerald, who was joined in his criticism by the lawyer for the Matters family, a former veterans official and a military legal expert.

“Sometimes, the police look like they get armed, prepared, trained and most importantly psyched up for a rural confrontation,” said Jason Gartl, who represented the Matters family out of Vancouver.

He said he understands the public safety argument, but there has to be a counter-balance to all of that adrenaline in confrontations with not only veterans, but natives and homeless.

“Police officers being shot at — or even killed — by one person is not justification for shooting someone else in a totally different location,” he said.

Michel Drapeau, a retired colonel and expert in military law, said the country has faced similar social problems following previous conflicts, and is learning how to deal with it all over again.

And while he’s not in favour of letting soldiers off the hook, Drapeau said he does believe that mitigating circumstances such as post-traumatic stress need to be taken into account during the sentencing process.

Retired lieutenant-general Walt Semianiw, who until last year was working at Veterans Affairs, said the department’s mandate needs to pivot towards the crisis-response business.

“It makes eminent sense that the police have all the tools at their disposal to resolve and diffuse a situation without the use of violence,” said Semianiw, who is now part of a group called Veterans Emergency Transition Services, which provides peer-to-peer support for ex-soldiers in crisis.

“You need a crisis management capability for veterans who are in trouble with the law. That’s not something the department is structured for right now, but it could be

http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/1321872-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-veterans-face-the-enemy-within
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PTSD Farms

Post by bigrex on Mon 22 Feb 2016, 07:22

A project to create a string of teaching farms across the country to help military veterans transition to civilian life and new jobs is coming to fruition, thanks to the efforts of an Ontario-based management consultant.

“Mental health [problems] are an epidemic in this country,” John Randolph told Yahoo Canada News.

The military has seen an exponential jump in soldiers with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In 2007, 5,548 vets were diagnosed with PTSD according to a parliamentary committee report but that number has almost tripled to 14,375 in 2015.

The overall number of veterans who receive disability benefits from Veterans Affairs has doubled to 22,567 during the same period.

“For me this is truly giving back and I know, lots of Canadian feel the same way. They want to help the soldiers,” said Randolph, whose involvement with the military is long.

“Back in the 1990s, I was a consultant [with the federal government] and we cut $3 billion out of the National Defence budget. It was painful and interesting,” Randolph recalls. “I got to know the military, and the admirals and generals became my friends. I came to understand their culture and their problems in real ways after visiting their bases and families.”

Since then, Randolph went on to found Forces & Families in 2007, a volunteer organization that supports current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces. That initiative was sparked by a suggestion from Rick Hillier, the former chief of defence staff from 2005 to 2008. Hillier is a friend that Randolph made back in the 1990s.

Then, a few years ago, when he met vice-admiral Bruce Donaldson about what else he could do for the military, Donaldson emphasized mental health.

“The generals and admirals want to help but they have a lot of bureaucracy to deal with. I don’t,” notes Randolph. “With my connections and my experience in helping link silos in organizations, I can do my bit.”

Growing greenhouse produce

Randolph says he noticed in his work with Forces & Families that a lot of responses came from rural parts of the country and from the families, i.e., wives or children of military members.

“A lot of the issues are in rural Canada where unemployment rates are really high and for members, as they transition, chances of finding a job are low.”

Randolph adds that many also suffer from PTSD and other such issues and it’s hard for them to get help because a “majority of programs are in places like Toronto, Vancouver or Montreal.”

He decided that greenhouse farming would be a good bet and has partnered with Toronto businessman Bobby Sniderman (perhaps best known for his family’s business of Sam the Record Man stores) to launch an R&D project at Sniderman’s 64-hectare farm near Orangeville, Ont.

“He’s allowing us the use of the farmland,” said Randolph. “Along with Niagara College, we will develop a program tailored for veterans to train them in growing greenhouse produce.”

The college is donating equipment and its expertise to the project.

The plan is to eventually form a Veterans Farm Network nationwide for these veterans and their families to provide their produce to supermarkets, restaurants and farmers markets. Some of the produce could include honey, cut flowers, organic greens, winter vegetables and maple syrup.

And it’s no coincidence Randolph decided on agriculture as the form in which to help the ex-soldiers.

“Nature is medicine. We looked at what would be the most beneficial to their mental wellness — not just getting them employment — and the clinical studies point to that,” he said.

“Also, growing flowers or vegetables makes them feel worthwhile … like they are part of something. We need to feel like we belong. Plus a greenhouse doesn’t have the stress of an office. It’s calming.”

DND biggest landowner

In addition, according to Randolph, the Department of Defence is the largest landholder in the country. Getting the land would be easy.

There is a similar program in the United States, which launched four years ago. Veterans to Farmers teaches ex-soldiers how to operate greenhouses and botanical gardens. Just last year, it celebrated its first graduates — 47 ex-pilots, infantrymen and divers.

A local Ontario company is donating the greenhouses to be built on Sniderman’s property — which lies only a half-hour drive from CFB Borden. They will be erected on the property by July 1.

Around the fall, Randolph and his volunteers will be teaming up with soldiers from the base and Niagara College to develop a training course and future support for the vets.

“We hope that by the first quarter of 2017, we will have our first group go through a training course, amounting to about 10 weeks,” said Randolph.

After that, the idea is to sprout training farms across the country — about five to six — and to get more vets into the program.

“Veterans in the remote parts of the country are suffering greatly,” says Randolph. “We finally, as a country, have admitted and accepted there is a problem. We can do something about it.”

https://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/dailybrew/farms-for-veterans-with-ptsd-could-expand-across-201259622.html?nhp=1
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Ex Member on Mon 22 Feb 2016, 08:58

Ya I want to farm, anyway to get people off pensions!

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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Ex Member on Mon 22 Feb 2016, 09:32

Don't mind this before and after the second world war most of the soldiers were farmers and they were busy working the farm which kept their minds focused on something other than war etc.

The problem now is most of us grew up in the military it's all we know so the only place to go back to is the streets homeless, suicides, addictions etc no self worth. Try it if it works fine everyone knows we can't feed ourselves, we import to much and need all the farmers we can get. A very meaningful way of life and very peaceful.

Will be good for those with ptsd and minor injury's if they offer them incentives to own and operate their own farms a win win for all Canadians.

Nav you sitting on a tractor fedora to keep the sun off what country girl could resist.

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I can’t take the pain’: B.C. vet fights Veterans Affairs over PTSD, chronic pain treatment

Post by Trooper on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 05:31

VANCOUVER — Angel Kibble spent seven years with the Canadian Forces in Esquimalt on Vancouver Island. But during that time, she claims she suffered a knee injury in basic training and was harassed by her peers.

She’s been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex regional pain syndrome — a chronic pain condition affecting a limb usually after an injury.

“It feels like my body has been emptied of its blood, filled with gasoline, and I’ve been lit with fire,” says the 37-year-old.

In 2015, Corporal Kibble was given a medical discharge and she thought Veterans Affairs would take care of her.

Her doctors were trying all kinds of treatments. Finally, they found ketamine was treating both her chronic pain and PTSD.

“It’s pretty much control, alt, delete for your computer, ” says Kibble. “That’s what it does for your nervous system.”

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic. This past December – Christmas Eve to be exact – Veterans Affairs cut her off from the treatment saying she doesn’t qualify for it.
She’s pleaded her case with Minister Kent Hehr in two letters. The stress is getting to her.

“It just sets me back.”

Dr. Greg Passey, Kibble’s psychiatrist, can’t talk about her case because of patient confidentiality.

But, he spent 22 years in the military and says that veterans often have trouble navigating the bureaucracy.

“My worst fear is that someone would end their life because they’re not getting adequate treatment,” says the psychiatrist.

Dr. Brenda Lau, a pain specialist and researcher who runs the Change Pain clinic in Vancouver, believes any delay in treatment can result in a relapse.

“Undertreated pain and undertreated mental health is always a set up for danger for that person,” says Dr. Lau.

Global News contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs about Kibble’s situation.

A spokesperson for Minister Kent Hehr issued a statement that reads:

“For privacy reasons, I am not able to comment on a specific case, however, I can assure you that the care and well-being of Veterans and their families is a priority for this government.”

Kibble’s fight with Veterans Affairs has left her exhausted.

“Veterans Affairs has a mandate to take care of their members. They’re not doing that.”

She feels the country she serves has now abandoned her. She’s sinking into deeper despair.

“I don’t want to die,” says an emotional Kibble. “I can’t take the pain.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/2548789/i-cant-take-the-pain-b-c-vet-fights-veterans-affairs-over-ptsd-chronic-pain-treatment/

Cost of veterans’ mental illness will eclipse other injuries by 2017, PBO report says

A new report released Thursday outlines the growing burden of mental illness in the cost Canada pays for combat, and outlines gaps in information on veterans’ health care costs once they leave the military.


The federal Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated how much the feds will spend on veterans over the next decade and beyond and tried to calculate the impact of the Afghan mission, changes to the New Veterans Charter and the increased incidence of chronic mental illness among men and women in the military.

The new Veterans Affairs Minister has vowed to drastically alter the way Canada deals with veterans making claims, giving a veteran the benefit of the doubt instead of requiring him or her to prove medical or rehabilitative need up front.

That will probably reduce administrative costs but may also speed up payouts to vets in need. This report didn’t measure the impact of that change.

“The Minister of Veterans Affairs welcomes the PBO’s latest report on financial support to disabled Veterans and looks forward to working with the PBO on future reports in an open and transparent manner,” spokesperson Christian Daniel said in an email Thursday.

“The Report’s findings are in line with VAC’s projected program spending. The Government committed to better serving Veterans and offering more support to Veterans’ families. These commitments have been costed through a planning framework that is realistic, sustainable, prudent, and transparent.”

The federal government will spend an estimated $3.3 billion caring for disabled veterans in the next decade, the report says.

And by 2017 the amount Ottawa pays to veterans with mental illness will exceed what it pays veterans with musculoskeletal injuries.

Afghan veterans make up only 18 per cent of Canada’s vets right now. But they’re younger and are three times more likely to need mental health treatment, which means they’re going to need assistance for a much longer period of time, the report says.

“These Veterans typically require greater and increasing resources over time, in contrast with their peers whose use of resources declines over time,” the report reads.

A one-year increase in rehabilitation time for veterans with mental illness would cost $282.5 million over a decade.

In the wake of changes to veterans benefits earlier this year, reservists hurt or killed during service are supposed to receive benefits equal to those of their regular force peers.

It means they and their families will receive about $218,000 more, over a 10-year period, than they would have before.

The report emphasizes that the cost of military missions extends far beyond the combat itself.

“The costs of war extend beyond the Forces’ withdrawal from theatre, and beyond the boundaries of DND’s budget.”

If Canada engaged in a one-year military mission on the scale of its 2007 Afghan mission, the report estimates, it would cost an estimated $145.2 million over the course of nine years, but far more in the decades following.

“A single year of conflict can result in additional costs for several years in the future,” the report reads.

“This is because even after decades, Veterans who had suffered an injury or illness during this conflict are still entering the system.”

But the Parliamentary Budget Officer also notes he ran up against challenges simply calculating the amount the feds will spend on vets with mental illness: In many cases the data isn’t available.

“Through information requests and discussions with subject matter experts, PBO learned that the data required for this work would be difficult, if not impossible, to acquire,” the report reads.

And there’s no information gathered on the health care needs and expenditures of veterans once they enter the civilian health care system right after they leave the military.

That’s of particular concern for the growing number of young veterans who may need mental health treatment for years or decades after they’re discharged.

“The current approach makes it impossible to determine how much is spent on the care of a disabled Veteran after he or she is discharged from the Forces, or after the Veteran begins to rely upon the civilian (public) health care system,” the report reads.

“This is especially relevant when examining the cost of caring for Veterans living with mental illness. Studies indicate that these Veterans typically require greater resources over time, than do their peers.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/2349665/cost-of-veterans-mental-illness-will-eclipse-other-injuries-by-2017-pbo-report-says/
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by pinger on Tue 01 Mar 2016, 16:00

Interesting article on a couple of counts.

1. A knee injury in basic, but wasn't booted 3b until 7 years?
Perhaps she put her best foot forward.

2. She HAS a doctor (psych) who himself served 22 years in the military
who understands veterans often have trouble navigating the bureaucracy?

Of all people, he should have the sharp knife to cut through the bureaucratic
TOD's for her. Others would be so lucky.

Never heard of complex regional pain syndrome, but spare me.
Because I know chronic pain quite well. Leads to flavours of depression,
sleeping, eating and addiction disorders.

Just two cents.
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 05:47

Whistler camp helps veterans pick up the pieces, one sport at a time

WHISTLER — “I drove for 20 seconds with my car on cruise control at 100 km/h with my eyes closed,” recalls retired Lt.- Col. Rob Martin. “I wanted to end my life. I felt like a failure.”

That’s how bad it got for Martin, who has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a war-related injury from his time serving in Afghanistan with the Canadian Armed Forces.

“Mentally, I was a wreck. I was the deputy commander … and I couldn’t put two sentences together,” he says.

Suicidal ideation is a common symptom of PTSD and too often it leads to veterans taking their own lives. In 2012, more American soldiers died at home from suicide than on the ground in Iraq.

Martin was lucky that day. “I didn’t hit the ditch. For some reason, I’m still here,” he says. “It’s been a healing journey ever since.”

This restorative path is what led Martin to Whistler, and to a unique sports experience.

He came for a 10-day Allied Winter Sports Camp, an annual event put on by Soldier On, a Canadian Forces program.

Soldier On’s mission is simple: To provide opportunities and resources for ill and injured military members to rehab through sport and physical recreation.

What better place than Whistler?

Martin, from Kingston, Ont., wasn’t alone — at this sports camp or in his suffering.

Thirty-three other soldiers, both active and retired, from across Canada, United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, also travelled to Whistler to be a part of this life-changing opportunity, which wrapped up Thursday.

Julie Hopkins, a retired member of the U.K.’s Royal Logistics, also struggles with PTSD. “As a result of that,” Hopkins says, “I’ve also developed rheumatoid arthritis that’s been attributed to service.”

For Scott Seccombe, a former serviceman from Australia, his battle is mental and physical. “I’ve had trouble with depression and my knee has severe osteoarthritis,” he says.

“My injuries are pretty vast from over 20 years,” says Bully Ternes, who is freshly retired from the Canadian Forces. “They pile up.”

Participants’ injuries and illnesses run the gamut — from mental health to physical limitations like paraplegia, to chronic debilitating diseases.

At the end of the day, each person’s ailments don’t really matter, says Canadian Forces Maj. Jay Feyko, the program manager for Soldier On and an injured member himself. Feyko survived a suicide bombing in Afghanistan in 2004.

“Nobody judges anyone for what they have,” says Feyko.

“We’ve had a really busy and ambitious program,” says Petty Officer 1st Class Joe Kiraly, the logistics co-ordinator for Soldier On. “Any winter sport you can think of, we’ve probably done it.”

These include: sledge hockey, Nordic and alpine skiing, snowboarding, dog sledding, snowshoeing, zip lining, bobsledding and skeleton.

“Whistler offers a world-renowned experience. It’s tough to beat,” says Kiraly, not only as it relates to the variety of winter sports, but also the calibre of the adaptive training facilities.

For the participants, so much about getting back to an active lifestyle is about empowerment, says Feyko. “The realization that life’s not over. You have a new normal to adjust to, but you can still do things like you could before,” he says.

Much of this is possible because of Whistler Adaptive Sports Program (WASP), a local multi-sport organization that provides 17 different sports programs to individuals with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities.

“It makes our lives so much easier having a capable partner like the WASP,” says Kiraly, who notes that they help shape the winter camp, ensuring it’s inclusive and accessible to all participants.

Feyko gives an example: “We have a couple wheelchair users, and they can get them down ziplines. There are no barriers.”

Of all the sporting activities, some have created quite a buzz with the military contingent.

“We had the opportunity to send most of our participants down two runs on the skeleton track and one on the bobsled track,” says Kiraly. “It was an adrenalin-filled day. It pushed people’s personal yardsticks much further.”

That might be an understatement. The smiles on the soldiers’ flushed faces indicated it was nothing short of transformative.

“Going down the bobsled was just like being in a fighter jet,” says Hopkins. “The bobbing about, the pressure, fighting to get your head up. It was exactly the same. It was scary, but exhilarating.”

WASP did an exceptional job helping everyone get down the track, too.

“One of our wheelchair users was very nervous, but also very much looking forward to attempting the bobsled,” Kiraly says. “He got in there and said it was a life-changing experience.”

For others, it was all about the dogs.

“Dogsledding was a highlight,” says Seccombe. “It was really special.”

Martin agrees that the morning spent with the canines was especially rewarding.

“It’s not just getting them behind their harnesses,” Martin says. “It’s actually about spending time petting the dogs, feeding them, being around them.”

The Soldier On program, founded in 2006 and adopted by the Canadian Forces in 2007, has helped 1,500 members adapt to a new normal.

Beyond getting their bodies active again, healing also takes place off the mountain. The camaraderie crosses all borders.

“Right away, the boundaries were down between nations,” says Kiraly, who is also an injured member. “Gals and guys were bonding.”

“As the week’s gone on, it’s just gotten better and better,” says Hopkins. “The typical squaddy humour is the same, be you Australian, or American, or British.”

This fellowship is salve.

“Once you’re injured, you’re kind of taken away from the military environment and segregated. You’re often lonely and this program allows them to come back into the camaraderie,” says Feyko. “It’s just like being back with your mates in your platoon.”

“The best memories are having a hard day playing sports … then getting together afterwards and being social,” says Ternes. “A lot of people don’t want to talk around their friends back home or around their units,” he says.

This camp gives soldiers an opportunity to tell stories and learn from each other.

“We all have been through pain and suffering,” Martin says, “and we’re at different stages of our healing. It’s very spiritual.”

“One of the funniest things we did the other night was sit around and compare medications,” Seccombe says. “That may sound silly, but it was nice to feel a bit normal.”

Normal. That’s what so many of them want — to just feel normal. Getting back to an active lifestyle is an important step in that journey, one that is undoubtedly saving lives.

“They’ve all served their country proudly, they’ve all gone through a horrible event and their lives have changed,” Feyko says. Reconnecting to sport through this camp is a way to bring them all together to share those experiences of restoration.

“It’s such a powerful thing.”

http://www.vancouversun.com/sports/soldier+whistler+camp+helps+veterans+pick+pieces+sport+time/11763915/story.html
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 05:49

Help those who suffer in silence

Today in Vancouver, Canadian military veteran, Master Cpl. Jordan Irvine – a White Rock resident – will be honoured by the governor general for his work helping fellow soldiers battle mental illness and post-traumatic stress disorder.

With that as backdrop – as well as a series of Wounded Warrior runs which were held last month across B.C. – it seems as good a time as any to remind ourselves of the sacrifices made by all those that serve our country and our communities.

They’re sacrifices we often overlook – particularly those made by our local first responders, men and women prepared to leave the warmth and safety of their homes at all hours of the night; ready and willing to plunge head-first into a dangerous situation, putting themselves at risk to help someone else.

They must make difficult judgment calls and live with them; routinely witness things that would bring most of us to our knees. The rest of us can only imagine how they manage to deal with that stress and emotion while carrying on family lives, trying not to let it affect them or those around them.

Although we have laws in place to protect them when they are working at the side of the road, it’s the injuries we can’t see that are often most significant.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – and those who suffer from it – has been an important issue in Surrey and White Rock, as well. Since forming in 2011, the Equitas Society, advocating for disabled benefits for Canadian veterans, has worked to help us understand the impact of PTSD as well as more visible injuries, while the mental-health of first responders has been a top-of-mind issue for, among others, Surrey Coun. Mike Starchuk, a former firefighter.

Talking about feelings, especially in occupations still struggling to throw off macho stereotypes, has carried a stigma that keeps people from getting the help they need.

PTSD and operational stress injuries may no longer be associated only with veterans, but our first responders – just like our military veterans – are still not getting the help they need.

They’re willing to sacrifice themselves for us on a daily basis – it’s only fitting that we do everything we can to take care of them.

http://www.peacearchnews.com/opinion/371064291.html
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 05:53

His new mission

Sean Izzard has a medical discharge from the Canadian Forces, but he'll always carry a bit of the military inside his head.



In bed at night he gets the cold sweats, twitching, while reliving his tours in Bosnia and Afghanistan.

Driving, he's wary when a driver is tailgating him or if a car is doggedly keeping pace with his car. Around here, that's just the sign of a jerk driver on the 401; in Afghanistan that could mean a suicide bomber trying to get close enough to detonate.

A guy with his hands in his coat in Gananoque means it's cold, but to Izzard, it also means the guy might have a weapon. In a Kingston mall, a guy with a backpack is just, well, a guy with a backpack, but Izzard is trained to think of him as a potential bomber.

Loud noises, such as a the banging of a dumpster lid or a car backfiring, puts Izzard back in combat mode, ready to spring into action as a first responder or to repeal insurgents.

In short, former Cpl. Sean Izzard, 49, has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Izzard spent a tour in Bosnia (2003-2004) and two tours in Afghanistan (2006-2007) and (2008-2009). The PTSD kicked in a few years after his last assignment in Afghanistan and by 2012 Izzard had hit rock bottom.

“I was in a really dark place, a dark hole,” he said. “I didn't want to talk to anybody; I didn't want to see anybody.”

Izzard described himself as the textbook case of a person who “didn't know how to go forward, who had lost all hope.”

His relationship dissolved: He is estranged from his two young daughters and their mother.

But gradually, through treatment at CFB Kingston, Izzard began to heal and learn to deal with his flashes of stress and anxiety. In July of 2015, he received a medical discharge for PTSD.

In sharp contrast to the horror stories of the Canadian military's treatment of PTSD victims, Izzard has nothing but praise for his mental health team at CFB Kingston and the Veterans Affairs office there. Both have been amazing, he said.

Izzard, who grew up in the bush country of Northern Ontario, now lives in Gananoque with his new wife, a lifelong resident of town. He is on medication for his PTSD, gets neuro-electric therapy from his civilian doctor and has competed a course to become a heavy equipment operator.

Izzard's next mission is to give back to the community. He is hoping to raise a team of hockey players for Baycrest, North America's largest charity hockey in the Scotiabank Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s in support of Baycest.

Izzard said the cause of curing Alzheimer’s is close to his heart because many former military members who suffer brain trauma in combat or training have a greater chance of contracting Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease in later years. And some studies suggest that veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. In addition, Canadian veterans of the Second World War and the Korean War are now in their late 80s and early 90s, a high-risk age group for developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“It's one thing to come back messed up from war; it's another to come back and 10 years later be totally incapacitated because of Parkinson's or Alzheimer's due to an injury,” Izzard said.

Izzard wants to recruit 15 players for the tournament at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on May 13 and 14. His team, which he is calling the Dirty Vets, will be among 35 teams that will raise money in support of Baycrest Health Sciences, which supports Alzheimer's research. Current and former NHL players will join in the tournament and be “drafted” on the teams. Izzard said the amount of money raised by the teams ranks them in the draft.

Lost year's Pro-Am raised $2 million for Alzheimer's research.

Izzard is starting slowly. As of last week, he had recruited one other player – Kevin Conway – and himself. Izzard plays goal, but he wouldn't mind finding a couple good defencemen who could sub in goal if he is injured. (“I'm old,” Izzard jokes.)

http://www.gananoquereporter.com/2016/01/22/his-new-mission
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 07:25

One in 10 Canadian vets of Afghan war diagnosed with PTSD

Nearly one in 10 of the Canadian military personnel who took part in the mission in Afghanistan are now collecting disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder – and experts say the prevalence of the disease is likely much higher among Canada’s combat troops.

In briefing notes prepared last fall for Kent Hehr as he took over as Minister of Veterans Affairs, bureaucrats explained that 14,372 clients of the department were receiving disability benefits for PTSD, a mental disorder triggered by a terrifying event or series of events. “Of the 14,372,” they wrote, “there are 3,578 related to service in Afghanistan.”

The Department of National Defence says more than 39,000 Canadian Armed Forces members served in Afghanistan or in support of the mission. That means at least 9 per cent of Canada’s Afghanistan veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD.

But the 39,000 figure includes support personnel who never set foot in the war zone, and people who were deployed but were not among those fighting on the front lines – the troops most likely to have been exposed to the types of danger and traumatic events that can trigger PTSD.

So the fact that nearly a tenth of all the Canadian soldiers, sailors and air personnel who participated in the Afghanistan mission have now been diagnosed with PTSD and are collecting benefits from Veterans Affairs suggests the disease is much more widespread among those who directly confronted the Taliban.

“My inclination is that that number is pretty light,” says Mike Blois, the former president of the Afghanistan Veterans Association of Canada, who was diagnosed with PTSD and a brain injury after his deployment to Kandahar. “When you break it down with what job people did, and the higher levels of occurrence of PTSD in people who are out at the forefront of the combat operations, then it will be a lot higher.”

In addition, Mr. Bois said, there are unquestionably many PTSD victims still actively serving in the military who have not reached out for benefits, and others who have never been diagnosed.

Anthony Feinstein, a psychiatrist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, said the rates of psychological distress in returning veterans from Afghanistan has been high.

“The generally accepted prevalence of PTSD in the general population runs anywhere from 2 to 5 per cent, depending on what study you read,” Dr. Feinstein said. “So the numbers are certainly a lot higher than that. And that really is not surprising. The exposure to danger in Afghanistan has been so great that you would expect some psychiatric casualties.”

Symptoms of PTSD include uncontrollable flashbacks, avoidance of places or people that trigger bad memories, depression and emotional outbursts. It can be completely debilitating and, in some cases, can prompt sufferers to take their own lives.

A Globe and Mail investigation last year exposed the high rates of suicide among Afghan veterans. Seventeen serving military members killed themselves in 2015, including six who had taken part in the Afghanistan war – raising the number of soldiers and veterans who have died by suicide after returning from the mission to 62.

Greg Passey, a psychiatrist who works with PTSD patients at the B.C. Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Vancouver and who spent more than 22 years in the military, said research he conducted on Canadian peacekeepers who served in Yugoslavia suggested 15.5 per cent of them probably suffered from PTSD. “About 49 per cent of all individuals with PTSD actually think about suicide and about 19 per cent attempt,” Dr. Passey said.

Two of the veterans who were seeking help at his clinic took their own lives between Remembrance Day and the beginning of December of last year.

“Both of those, as I recall, were Afghanistan,” he said. “What the Canadian public and the government does not seem to appreciate is that a lot of these individuals develop this wound, PTSD, and that wound eventually kills them through suicide, drugs, alcohol overdoses, things like that …We end up with these soldiers, veterans, dying years after their deployment, but as a direct result of their deployment, and they are not recognized. They are our unknown fallen.”

Mr. Hehr said he has been given a clear mandate to address the mental-health problems affecting Canada’s veterans. “Even one soldier, sailor or aviator suffering from the invisible wounds of a mental-health injury is one too many.”

But Irene Mathyssen, an NDP MP, said the numbers demonstrate that many of Canada’s young men and women have already sacrificed big parts of their lives. “They are a reminder of the critical need for the critical support services for our military and our veterans,” she said. “The fact that we still have an unacceptable number of suicides among our veterans and Canadian Forces personnel, I think, underscores that.”

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/one-in-10-canadian-vets-of-afghan-war-diagnosed-with-ptsd/article28360290/




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Pets for veterans with PTSD aim of Kamloops fraternity campaign

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 12:26

I can go from depressed to happy and content in 5, 10 minutes,' says campaign organizer

A Kamloops fraternity is raising money to pair animals who need a home with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Kappa Sigma member Justin Bourke came up with the idea after his two cats helped him through a tough phase a few years ago. His grandfather had just died and Bourke was forced to drop out of school due to financial difficulties.

"I would come home and just sit on the couch all day," he said.

But he had two companions, cats Jager and Leo, to keep him company.

"Having one of my cats, just even sit near me, purring ... knowing that they're content, makes me feel more content."

Bourke says some days that experience can help him feel better in just a few minutes.

"I can go from depressed to happy and content in five, 10 minutes."

Helping veterans Some veterans experience PTSD as a result of being in conflict zones, and Bourke says animals looking for a home can help a veteran looking for a purpose.

"I want them to have the feeling, when they're lost, that somebody is there," he said.

"Even a little bit of love from an animal can make things better for them — can make them feel a lot less lonely."

Bourke is aiming to raise about $800 to cover one year's worth of food and vet costs for a dog or cat.

He plans to team up with the SPCA to ensure the right animal goes home with a deserving veteran.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pets-for-veterans-with-ptsd-aim-of-kamloops-fraternity-campaign-1.3482021
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Trooper on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 12:36

Pets for veterans with PTSD aim of Kamloops fraternity campaign

I can go from depressed to happy and content in 5, 10 minutes,' says campaign organizer

A Kamloops fraternity is raising money to pair animals who need a home with veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Kappa Sigma member Justin Bourke came up with the idea after his two cats helped him through a tough phase a few years ago. His grandfather had just died and Bourke was forced to drop out of school due to financial difficulties.

"I would come home and just sit on the couch all day," he said.

But he had two companions, cats Jager and Leo, to keep him company.

"Having one of my cats, just even sit near me, purring ... knowing that they're content, makes me feel more content."

Bourke says some days that experience can help him feel better in just a few minutes.

"I can go from depressed to happy and content in five, 10 minutes."

Helping veterans

Some veterans experience PTSD as a result of being in conflict zones, and Bourke says animals looking for a home can help a veteran looking for a purpose.

"I want them to have the feeling, when they're lost, that somebody is there," he said.

"Even a little bit of love from an animal can make things better for them — can make them feel a lot less lonely."

Bourke is aiming to raise about $800 to cover one year's worth of food and vet costs for a dog or cat.

He plans to team up with the SPCA to ensure the right animal goes home with a deserving veteran.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pets-for-veterans-with-ptsd-aim-of-kamloops-fraternity-campaign-1.3482021
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Re: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by pinger on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 00:01

Here is a documentary aired yesterday on tvo dealing with first responders, ff's. and the cops.
Worth watching. I hope the link works?

http://tvo.org/video/programs/the-agenda-with-steve-paikin/rescuing-the-rescuers
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Post-traumatic stress disorder: Veterans face the enemy within

Post by Ex Member on Sat 02 Apr 2016, 04:54

https://www.facebook.com/SoldierOnSanslimites/videos/981043991951186/

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