PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

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PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Trooper on Thu 16 Jul 2015, 14:36

The number of veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder has almost tripled in the last eight years, according to Veterans Affairs Canada documents obtained by CBC News.

In 2007, 5,548 vets were diagnosed with PTSD according to a Parliamentary Committee report. That number jumped to 14,375 as of March of this year.

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

The statistics surprised veteran advocates like Michael Blais, president and founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy. He also suffers from PTSD.

Numbers double what advocate expected

"I think it's extraordinary. I estimated the numbers would be over 10,000 but not much more. It's symbolic of the fact that many more are finally coming forward, fighting through the stigma self-identifying that they had been wounded and seeking treatment," said Blais.

Some people working in the mental health field say they're are not as shocked over the figures.

Mark Johnston is a psychiatrist who works both in Halifax and Kentville. He has been working with the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs since 2003.

He attributes the increase to Canada's 12-year involvement in the war in Afghanistan.

But Johnston told CBC News better awareness and openness about PTSD and mental health issues in general has made it easier for veterans to come forward for help.

"I recognize the numbers are going up I would argue there's probably an awful lot more — percentage-wise I think we are scratching the surface, to be honest, we are probably catching much less than 50 per cent of them."

Paper work daunting

There are several reasons people working in the mental health area and veterans advocates believe has kept the majority of PTSD hidden.

"Some folks who know they have PTSD but don't want to come in for treatment; other folks know they are not feeling right but don't know what's wrong with them or want to deny there's a or think there is nothing you can do about it anyway so why bother," said Dr. Mark Johnston.

'We had our own therapy in place, which was the drinking. So we just drank it all away.'
- Shawn Kennedy
Shawn Kennedy left the military in 2006. He was part of team which hunt submarines on Sea King helicopters. Kennedy completed a large number of missions that physically hurt him and he also developed PTSD.

"Mind you, we had our own therapy in place, which was the drinking. So we just drank it all away, we had our crew mates who we went to the mess [hall] and chatted with which is all good but as you are well aware drinking became a bad thing."

Kennedy blames part of the problem on veterans not wanting to come forward with the complicated process of getting help from Veterans Affairs Canada. He said the claim process is complicated.

Veterans PTSD 20130602
Mark Johnston, a psychiatrist who works both in Halifax and Kentville, attributes the increase to Canada's 12-year involvement in the war in Afghanistan. (Murray Brewster/Canadian Press)

"You are talking about a guy who all he wants to do is lock himself up in a hole in the bottom of the house basement of a house somewhere to be left alone. You can't throw in a pile of paperwork and expect him to do anything with it," he said.

Veterans Affairs Canada has not agreed to an interview about the challenges it faces with this large increase of clients with PTSD.

Planning problems

The federal auditor general did call out the federal government last year for long wait times for veterans seeking mental health treatment.

Guy Parent, the veteran's ombudsman, told CBC News the process is improving, slowly.

"Veterans Affairs Canada put out an action plan for mental health. The plan addresses wait times and want," he said.

The real problem, according to Johnston, is military planning.

DND plans well for war but not for mental health issues.

"So you can cost out your tanks, cost out your trucks and your personnel costs and that's great but where is the costing for mental health. It's costing us $10 billion now it's going to cost another $10 billion over the next 20 years, until we start doing that [planning for mental health issues] we are going to keep making the same mistakes."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/ptsd-diagnoses-nearly-triple-amongst-veterans-in-8-years-1.3154518
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Riddick on Thu 16 Jul 2015, 16:26

It is just like any statistic.....it will be only as accurate as those that participate in it.

I highly doubt the number of PTSD cases has tripled or doubled. Years ago PTSD had a different name.....was it not called "Shell-Shock"?

Years ago PTSD and it's symptoms were not well known. It is like marijuana, it has been around for many years, just many people were ignorant about it.

Then there is the government....they know about things they just like to pretend it isn't there and hope it will go....away.

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Ex Member on Sun 11 Oct 2015, 06:23

For me osi comes down to why why why the why's don;t make sense the whys did'nt need to happen it was'nt battle induced it was ignorance induced with repetition. there are some sick individuals in this world that love to inflict pain and suffering on others and all my brain keeps asking me over and over is WHY!!! and my head hurts trying to figure this out and I will never know the answer. When I feel this ignorance coming at me I get defensive angry there is no cure for what i have, the pain and suffering and ignorance i have witnessed in the military and now out cannot be taken back, the whys will never be answered. and i sure don't see the wrongs after release being righted by the goc so there is no releif for me. just more pressure on the brain more anger when i see injustice and a whole lot more of why,why,why.

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Trooper on Sun 11 Oct 2015, 13:15

Wild thing ,

It is a normal reaction to become angry when dealing with ignorance , it is a normal defense mechanism built into everyone of us.
Some react more aggressively than others , this inside an outside of dealing with Veterans issues.
There's nothing more frustrating then having someone control your life , this occurs when you know your right an their wrong.
It's a matter of how one chooses to react to ignorance , this can be extremely difficult as sometimes no matter what you say or do (let say in the case of seeking for benefits) you get turn down.
Doesn't seem fair does it ? well it's not fair , but in a lot of cases it's just the way it goes , an you can either give up , or you continue to fight.
A lot of us here suffer from PTSD , depression , anxiety , we are no stranger to it , it's one of those things that affects us in different ways each one of us are unique on the affects it has on us , same holds true in how we deal with it.
I'm no expert in this , but I would think that the first step would be to try in control your anger somewhat , as hard as it may sound , it can be accomplished , one way is to take control of yourself , you only get to live one life , why not live it in best way you choose to live it , not by those ignorant individuals who try to dictate your life.
I'm almost certain you can take control of yourself , control your anger somewhat , an fight those who are causing your anger in way of your choosing on your terms at the same time controlling your anger.
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Ex Member on Wed 14 Oct 2015, 09:56

Trooper you think I haven't played their games, I have played the heck out of them now they have a new game called NVC to old to play anymore games been suffering OSI for 38 years it is progressive over the years but I lived with it and dealt with it. In the late 80's early 90's I became very protective of people getting abused but was unable to protect myself and ended up in pet base hospital. After release sisip's abusive rehab program was the final factor for trust they new all my injuries even osi and they used this to manipulate a defencless person and inflict more crippling physical abuse. So nvc rehab is just a way of controlling and inflicting more abuse in order to receive a few dollars is being under a dictatorship no thank's.I have been living free for ten year's slowly healing. When my freedom to speak my mind, or I see people being denied their right's and freedoms I will fight if anger and swearing comes out from time to time well thats the way it has to be. It is the way i say backoff your crossing the line.  My OSI is repitition of abuse and to sign up for more is just saying here kick me in the nad's some more!!!   I will not be controlled on this site or anywhere and if I see it happening to other people on this site or anywhere I will come to their defence. Abuse by power makes me angry and I seen this by watching this site before even joining. Bumpsy's first post was a pure freedom of speach, no care about offending politicians completely neutral can you feel that, can you smell it, can you sense it. If not you have not yet remebered what freedom is. I know what freedom is I will not give it up again or have demands put on me by goc,va, this nvc has to be overhauled to show respect and dignity and freedom to medically released disabled veterans... "Note" don't feel angry on this site anymore feel I have the freedom to discuss what ever is affecting veterans.

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Unlikely angel brings hope to homeless vets

Post by Trooper on Sat 24 Oct 2015, 06:10

It was 10 years ago when Cpl. Fred Smith (retired) decided to jump from the Burlington Bay Skyway and end his life.

His 21-year-old son had recently killed himself and Smith, battling his own demons, decided he had nothing to live for.

“I was full of shame and despair,” he says.

But what might have been the end of another old soldier’s life became his turning point and the start of a new mission that brought him to Ottawa this week to receive a special commendation from Canadian Forces Ombudsman Gary Walbourne for “exceptional dedication” to his fellow veterans.

He turned away from the bridge that day and checked himself into hospital.

“I told them I was a danger to myself,” he says. “Three days later the psychiatrist came back and said ‘you’re full of PTSD. It’s military and there’s help for you.'”

And today, that’s more or less the message he delivers to homeless veterans — mostly troubled young men who served in Afghanistan and older vets from the Canadian military’s Bosnia years.

“My pain and despair,” he says, “have become my gifts to make a difference.”

There are about 80 veterans on the streets of Ottawa, he figures, and even more in the Hamilton area where he does most of his work.

What Smith does, and why he does it, starts with the story of his own military service with the Royal Canadian Regiment on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in 1979-80.

With two weeks left in his deployment and drinking heavily, he was repatriated after what he calls a series of traumatic events, involving the sight of dead bodies.

He doesn’t like going into detail.

“If I talk about it today, I won’t sleep tonight,” he says. “It never goes away.”

Smith’s medical officer sent him back to Canada with his medical file and the promise of psychological help that never materialized.

Instead he was transferred from London, Ont., to Gagetown, N.B., and put to work labouring on firing ranges while being barked at by a series of sergeants.

“I was broken to begin with and then I got angry and started drinking more,” he says. “I think they wanted to force me out.”

If that was the strategy, it worked and sent Smith on a brutal 26-year life of alcohol and drug addiction.

He’s lived in every province and slept rough in alleyways from Hastings Street in Vancouver to Gottingen Street in Halifax to Church Street in Hamilton.

And homeless shelters?

“All of them,” he laughs.

He completed therapy at 12 different treatment centres, getting enough sober respite to work periodically in sales, rent rooms here and there and resume his cocaine habit.

It took him three years after he finally checked himself into hospital to get help from Veterans Affairs but his Burlington doctors found him a place at the Homewood treatment centre in Guelph, where he met other soldiers and veterans.

“It’s the first time I learned that I wasn’t alone,” he says. “I learned that I wasn’t a bad person, I was just sick.”

So when he visits homeless shelters wearing his military jacket and medals, Smith has no problem telling down-and-out vets that he’s “been there, done that, got the scars.”

The stories he hears are eerily similar to his own: some horrible experience during military service, drink and drugs to cope, loss of job, loss of family and no one left to turn to.

“Some of these guys don’t even know what they’re entitled to,” he says.

Smith’s strategy is simple: He asks a few simple questions to confirm he’s speaking to a veteran — he’s had a few pretenders after the Tim Hortons cards he dishes out — and then just talks, hoping to get them into the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-Step program.

But he says he doesn’t make any demands.

“Sometimes they ask me, ‘How do you get sober?’ I say, ‘I stopped drinking.’ It sounds stupid and simple but if it’s delivered at the right time, the right message can get through.”

The main goal, says Smith, is to get the veterans the help they are entitled to. He links them to the Royal Canadian Legion and Veterans Affairs and helps with paperwork.

Blocked by privacy law, he invariably loses track but knows that some will get money and spend their way back to the streets.

“I see more bad stuff than good stuff,” he admits.

This year, three young veterans he was getting to know committed suicide and another was killed by a drug dealer.

But he has his victories and figures he has helped lift 18 vets off the streets and into some semblance of a normalcy.

Smith has willingly spent $17,000 of his own money on his “Veterans Helping Veterans” effort and collected 900 pairs of underwear at his first golf tournament this year.

“People on the street don’t have underwear,” he explains.

Smith, 60, works alone but wishes he didn’t have to.

He’d like to see healthy veterans organize workshops across the country and learn how to intervene with those living on the street.

“We served with each other, let’s reach out to each other.”

“No Canadian veteran should be homeless,” he says. “No Canadian should be homeless.”

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/unlikely-angel-brings-hope-to-homeless-vets
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by prawnstar on Sat 24 Oct 2015, 11:31

WOW what a story.

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Riddick on Sat 24 Oct 2015, 21:16

It is great he was able to pull himself together long enough to realize he needed help....and his compassion to help others......but so sad to know so many are in this state of despair.

I am vet and am ignorant....how many people who are in a position to help are just as or possibly more ignorant than I....????

Lets hope Mr. Trudeau and his team/advisors know....and lets hope there is compassion within this new government....

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Guest on Sat 24 Oct 2015, 22:56

really great man !!!!

Riddick we are all ignorant buds . just cant know everything going on out there not sure its possible .

guess we just gotta keep as informed as we can and do what we can and have a little hope .

for without hope my friend im afraid many will be lost .

so if you cant have hope the next best thing is try and give some .

because if a smile on your face is untenable you may just find someone else's satisfactory consultation.

propat

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Trooper on Sun 25 Oct 2015, 17:57

I agree it's a sad situation...an how many others are in the same boat.

When I read post here on CSAT I always try to not judge a person on what they write , sometimes it's difficult to do as it sometimes reflects - or resembles a character of what I think , but this post heading proves one thing  we are all Veterans yes , but we are almost always unique in our own way when it comes to what we all go through on a daily basis.
What I'm saying is that it's sometimes impossible to really know what's going on - on the other end of our keyboards , we may in our own way have a good Idea , but really impossible to truly know , so we continue to help each other in the best way possible as we at least have one thing in common , were all Veterans.
I just hope that anyone as others have before that feels they need to talk , not shy away from posting what's on their mind , outstanding members here who are always willing to reach out an help.
For me just reading post on here gives me a sense of well being knowing that I'm not alone , it really doesn't matter if I agree with the post or not , any post is a post worth reading.
So for me the post heading is a reminder to me that even though I have been through difficult times in the past  others are all around me are experiencing those same difficulties today which I can only hope they can find their way , like I , an others have.
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Trooper on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 13:20

Waterloo centre to provide psychological services for veterans, military and RCMP

Waterloo - The number of Canadian veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder has almost tripled since 2007, creating an increased need for mental health services to aid their recovery.

A new partnership between the Centre for Mental Health Research (CMHR) at the University of Waterloo and Parkwood Institute’s Operational Stress Injury Clinic (OSIC), part of St. Joseph’s Health Care London (St. Joseph’s), will deliver specialized mental health services for Canada’s veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP closer to home.

“We know from decades of research PTSD tends to develop into a chronic condition that rarely gets better on its own without effective psychological treatment,” said Professor David Moscovitch, executive director of CMHR at Waterloo. “Providing culturally aware, evidence-based assessment services through the CMHR will allow better access to care for those in our community who are struggling with service-related psychological injury.”

“We are proud to partner with the CMHR to increase our service reach for Canada’s military and RCMP personnel,” adds Heather Tales, director of veterans care at St. Joseph’s. “This partnership also furthers St. Joseph’s academic mission and will provide unique research and clinical training opportunities for Waterloo students and residents in clinical psychology.”
PTSD is one of several persistent psychological difficulties otherwise known as operational stress injuries (OSI) that military and RCMP personnel can develop as a result of duties performed during their service. Other examples include major depressive disorder, substance abuse, general anxiety and difficulty adjusting to civilian life.

Speaking at the event will be dean of arts at the University of Waterloo, the executive director of the CMHR, St. Joseph’s director of veterans care, and a veteran with PTSD who has benefited from access to psychological services at Parkwood Institute’s OSIC. Dr. Cyd Courchesne, national medical officer in the Department of Veterans Affairs, will deliver a short keynote.

http://www.exchangemagazine.com/morningpost/2016/week14/Monday/16040403.htm
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by 1993firebird on Mon 04 Apr 2016, 14:25

I was almost admitted to Parkwood for Major Depression (PTSD).

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Rags on Wed 06 Apr 2016, 11:44

Seans a sharp guy but there is a credibility lose when he claims PTSD for his participation in a relatively non event with him having very non event job. He does not win over guys like me for that fact. Now if he focused on the issue that is his real problem.....probably some type of chem bio reaction to Methliqine he would be taken more seriously. As it stands he has no credibility although some of his points make alot of sense.

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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by RobbieRoyal on Wed 06 Apr 2016, 12:56

Rags we cannot give an opinion on who has been or how one has been effected by PTSD symptoms, simply not fair. PTSD has it's own fingerprint and effects people in different ways. No more comparing traumatic venues as a stepping stone to develop PTSD.
PLEASE
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Re: PTSD diagnoses nearly triple amongst veterans in 8 years

Post by Rags on Wed 06 Apr 2016, 13:42

I was just suggesting he has a more valid complaint then the one he is hanging his hat on. There is no doubt he has issues from the drug cocktail and Id be very supportive of his positions. He was an Air Force Int guy the closest he got to it getting hot was the air condition in the office breaking down or the temperature in the Canadian pool being to warm. Just saying. Whatttttttt! you mean they even had a pool?......yes and they even had a life guard......Safety first!

Robbie, I hear ya and we can agree to disagree. I will not change my position on what is required to cause PTSD....I am not alone in this position there are  several very learned well placed doctors and researchers that hold same view as me. I guess it is still up for determination as neither side has proven to be true yet. So that said you cant take away and ignore or claim my position is wrong...you can hope I wrong but currently we would both be right.  

I like it when we are both right ha ha lol.

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