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The battle with PTSD

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The battle with PTSD

Post by Guest on Thu 10 Nov 2016, 12:16

'Nobody cares': Soldier feels abandoned 3 years after last Afghanistan tour

'Nobody's witnessed what we witnessed. Nobody's lived what we lived,' Cpl. Tyler Liebenau says

By Stefanie Lasuik, for CBC News Posted: Nov 10, 2016 11:00 AM CT Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016 11:00 AM CT

Cpl. Tyler Liebenau plays with his daughter. His fiancée worries he could lose it on a future boyfriend.

The day after Cpl. Tyler Liebenau returned from Afghanistan, he mistakenly held his father at knifepoint.

Liebenau, 30, still suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder three years after his final tour with the Armed Forces.

The condition is chronic in up to 10 per cent of war zone veterans, Veterans Affairs Canada says — but support for former soldiers isn't adequate, Liebenau said.

"Nobody understands. Nobody's witnessed what we witnessed. Nobody's lived what we lived," he said.

Cpl. Tyler Liebenau learned to sleep with a knife under his pillow in Afghanistan. He pulled it out when his father woke him up after his first night at home.

Liebenau's first night home after his first tour, he went to bed with his knife under his pillow, as he had done every night in Afghanistan. Liebenau slept for 18 hours before his dad decided to go into his room and wake him.

Thinking he was still in Afghanistan, Liebenau grabbed his dad and his knife. His dad cried out to convince his son that he was home, that he was safe. Liebenau released him as he snapped out of it. He felt terrible.

A few minutes later, Liebenau went to the kitchen to apologize to his dad.

"I was trying to talk to him. He just wouldn't talk to me. All [of a] sudden he just started tearing up," said Liebenau.

Anyone who hasn't been in the line of fire, who hasn't watched friends and innocent children die or who hasn't slept with a knife doesn't understand, he said.

Resources lacking, Liebenau says

Liebenau doesn't want his PTSD to continue to affect him and his family, but he doesn't feel supported by the military or the country he served.

"Nobody checks up on me. Nobody cares. We went to debriefing for a few days after our tour, but social workers don't understand what it's like there," he said.

There's one Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Winnipeg. Veterans Affairs Canada funds the clinic to assess and treat veterans, current Armed Forces members and RCMP.

Veterans seeking treatment must get a referral from Veterans Affairs Canada. If their request for referral is accepted, the veteran can then set up an appointment with the clinic.

About 18 months ago, Liebenau met with a psychologist at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic but didn't feel the sessions would help him.

"How can you sit there and talk about it when the other person you're talking to has no idea what you're talking about?" he said.

He didn't go back.

In an emailed statement, Veterans Affairs Canada said they follow up with veterans to ensure they're adjusting to civilian life.

Liebenau got a call from the organization 2½ years ago and hasn't heard from them since, he said.

Effects of war linger

Liebenau continues to have vivid combat dreams.

"There'd be times, I'd still be in combat mode, and I'd roll over and [my fiancé would] take an elbow in the face or a fist to the gut," he said.

Christine Allasopp, Liebenau's fiancé, is afraid his dreams will become daydreams, and eventually become his reality. Since Liebanau is protective of the couple's baby, Allasopp is worried he'll lose it on a boyfriend in his young daughter's future.

Darlene, Liebenau's mom, has also seen his anger.

When he was home from his first tour, Liebenau was scared by a neighbourhood kid shooting off fireworks. To him, it sounded like bombs going off.

"He just went ballistic and yelled at this kid," said his mom — behaviour she'd never seen from him before.

Despite the damage, she's grateful he's back home.

"His buddies didn't come home," she said, choking back tears.

This is one in a series of stories written for CBC Manitoba by Red River College journalism students that looks at ways conflict abroad has shaped Winnipeg.


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Veteran earns stripes fighting PTSD

Post by Guest on Wed 09 Nov 2016, 16:31

Veteran earns stripes fighting PTSD

Sooke war veteran Chris Linford served in Rwanda and Afghanistan, but started out as a pipe band drummer.

by Octavian Lacatusu - Sooke News Mirror
Sooke posted Nov 9, 2016 at 9:00 AM

Sooke war veteran Chris Linford started out his military career more than 30 years ago with a simple goal: become a pipe band drummer.

Living in Calgary in 1979, he joined the Calgary Highlanders, a reserve infantry unit, where he served as a military musician for 10 years.

It didn’t stop there, though. Throughout his time with the Highlanders, Linford cross-trained as medic on his way to becoming a registered nurse.

Cross-training military musicians as medics for their units isn’t as strange as it sounds, Linford said, adding that the intersection of fields was quite appealing.

“I found myself enjoying that piece and liked the whole medical aspect of trauma medicine,” he said, adding that he later went to nursing school in Calgary, where he met his wife. In December 1988, he joined the regular force as a nursing officer.

His first posting was in Ottawa at the National Defense Medical Centre, shortly before deployed in the Persian Gulf War as an augmentee for the Canadian Field Hospital in Petawawa, Ont.

Once overseas, he was just south of Kuwait for the four-day ground war, set up beside the British field hospital, supporting the British forces on the western flank. It was his first wartime experience, living through something he’d read about in a magazine.

“It demonstrated for me that I was doing the right thing and I felt quite comfortable in the role,” Linford said, adding that a month following that, he was posted to Cold Lake, where flew and trained to be an air medivac nurse.

Shortly after that, he deployed as a nurse to Rwanda in 1994 as part of a 100-day humanitarian mission supporting refugees suffering with cholera.

“We saved as many lives as we could. Over the 100 day mission, we treated more than 26,000 casualties,” Linford said.

It was also in Rwanda that Linford ended up with post-traumatic stress disorder, something he silently dealt with for another 10 years before coming forward and asking for help. In many ways, Rwanda showed him a side of the human condition he never thought to see.

“It was an amazing experience to live the African experience, it’s quite different from anything that you might consider as normal in Canada,” he said. “Lots of violence, lots of young kids, fully armed, most of them stoned or drunk, or both, so it was pretty scary sometimes for sure.”

Linford kept at it though.

Years later in 2009, after a posting in the U.S. for three years, he ended up deploying to Afghanistan for seven months, serving as the executive office to the combat hospital there in Kandahar.

“We were the trauma hospital in southern Afghanistan ... sometimes, we were the busiest trauma centre in the world, based on our number of casualties,” he said, adding that six NATO countries were contributing medical professionals, military and civilian, to the organization, to try to save the lives of not only NATO troops, but of civilian casualties.

That even included treating Taliban troops injured in the firefights.

“We had quite a few of those, as they were treated as non-combatants.”

In 2014, Linford was released for PTSD, but his journey did not end there. Nowadays, Linford and his wife are the national ambassadors to Wounded Warriors Canada, a national charity that raises money and awareness for veterans and first responders and their families dealing with PTSD.

“We do a lot of public speaking about our family’s journey with PTSD and it keeps us engaged with the military community and first responders,” he said. “It’s a great way to stay connected to the community and continue our service to Canada.”


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Partners’ involvement linked to efficacy of PTSD treatment

Post by Guest on Wed 09 Nov 2016, 06:07

Partners’ involvement linked to efficacy of PTSD treatment

MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail
Published Monday, Nov. 07, 2016 6:50PM EST
Last updated Tuesday, Nov. 08, 2016 10:59AM EST

This article is part of The Unremembered, a Globe and Mail investigation into soldiers and veterans who died by suicide after deployment during the Afghanistan mission.

A growing body of research shows treating post-traumatic stress is more effective for patients in committed relationships when their partners are deeply involved in the care – the opposite of the usual experience in 22 soldier and veteran suicides examined by The Globe and Mail.

Couples psychotherapy for stress disorders improved all symptoms and showed results comparable to the best-known treatments, according to an academic study published earlier this year by PTSD experts in Canada and the United States.

The paper published in the Journal of Family Psychology builds on 10 years of research pioneered at Ryerson University showing that “conjoint cognitive behavioural therapy” – short-term intensive couples’ psychotherapy that concentrates on problem solving to change attitudes and behaviour – reduced flashbacks, nightmares and emotional numbness. The treatment also kept more couples together and helped reverse the social isolation that is one of the disastrous consequences of stress disorders.

The Globe and Mail conducted its own in-depth interviews with family and friends of 31 soldiers who took their own lives after returning from serving in Afghanistan. Twenty-two were in committed relationships before they fell seriously ill. In 15 of the 22 cases, the relationships had recently collapsed or were in the midst of breaking down just before the suicide. In at least two cases The Globe studied, the military’s own boards of inquiry recommended more family involvement in treatment.

In almost every case, spouses and exes reported they were left out of the treatment process leading up to the breakup and suicide; sometimes they were excluded by their partners but also, they felt, by a system that saw the couple and partner support as secondary matters to be dealt with later.

“I needed to understand and they were pushing me away,” said Sylvie Duchesne, the wife of retired Sergeant Claude Emond, who took his life in 2014, just after she warned him she could no longer live with his growing paranoia. “At every step, I was told the process was confidential. And my husband didn’t want me involved in his treatment steps.”

Retired Sergeant Raynald Côté followed several therapy programs before his death in 2015, but his former partner Marie-Claude Deschênes said they never got to the stage of couples therapy.

“It’s complex. The couple has to take charge from the earliest signs of PTSD, but it’s not easy to know when to start on counselling. Raynald pursued several specialized therapies. Couples therapy was supposed to come later,” Ms. Deschênes said.

Anne Wagner, a psychology professor at Ryerson University and a member of the research team, said that experience is typical. “Conventional wisdom is … the most pressing concern – that gets dealt with first,” she said. “It makes logical sense but what we’re seeing in our approach is you’re not leaving the family behind; you’re bringing them along.”

Dr. Wagner said one of the benefits of couples therapy is that soldiers with PTSD – mostly men – are more willing to attend therapy if the main objectives include helping their partners and preserving marriages. It reduces some of the focus on their own illness, which they may be trying to minimize.

“Our team’s perspective is very much that PTSD and the impact of trauma is not just an individual disorder,” Dr. Wagner said. “By treating the patient, the partner and the relationship at the same time, you’re getting a three-for-one, basically, for things that facilitate getting well.”

Colonel Rakesh Jetly, the chief psychiatrist of the Canadian Armed Forces, said the military has made efforts to include spouses in treatment but the main obstacle is privacy concerns and the co-operation of the service member. Far from wanting to exclude spouses, he said, treatment teams are anxious to get them involved. “Some are most successful cases are when the spouse is integral to the treatment,” Col. Jetly said. “There’s not a single Canadian Forces member in for treatment who doesn’t get asked, ‘Can we meet your spouse?’”

Relationship breakdown is a major issue for stress-disorder patients so mental health professionals are anxious to talk to spouses, Col. Jetly said. Educating spouses can be key to effective treatment. Besides, “spouses are really good bullshit detectors,” he said. “If someone is minimizing their symptoms, they know it.”

Military boards of inquiry have also called for more spousal involvement.

Sergeant Paul Martin was a veteran infantry soldier, based at CFB Gagetown. The married father of two was diagnosed with PTSD after deploying four times to the former Yugoslavia and once to Afghanistan. A military board of inquiry examining his 2011 suicide recommended partners be involved in a soldier’s mental-health treatment, “not only to gain an understanding of the treatment techniques, but also to identify if there are any unreported concerns.”

In response to this recommendation, a commanding officer wrote in 2014 that family participation is already encouraged.

A military board of inquiry in Captain Brad Elms’s suicide also stressed the importance of involving family members in a soldier’s care. Capt. Elms had been diagnosed with depression after his Bosnia tour, but his family believes he was also struggling with PTSD. His wife and teenaged children noticed dramatic changes in his mental health after he returned from Afghanistan in 2009 and they pleaded with him to get help. But the well-respected infantry officer was worried that doing so would scuttle his career.

Capt. Elms took his life in November, 2014. The inquiry examining his death recommended that military health staff consider collecting information from family members and close co-workers during a soldier’s post-deployment health screening.

A commander wrote in response in June, 2015, that he concurred, but noted that consent from the soldier was required before health staff could talk with family members.

With reporting from Renata D’Aliesio and Allan Maki

If you would like your relative included in the commemoration project of Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide, please e-mail


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PTSD service dogs to be named after veterans and first responders

Post by Guest on Tue 08 Nov 2016, 12:20

PTSD service dogs to be named after veterans and first responders

Dogs will be given to other veterans and first responders in need

By Kyle Muzyka, CBC News Posted: Nov 07, 2016 7:04 PM MT Last Updated: Nov 07, 2016 7:04 PM MT

Future service dogs named to honour first responders and veterans

Kristine Aanderson tries to hush a few of the three-week-old puppies yelping for their mother.

In a few short weeks, the puppies will enter training to become service dogs, which will be offered free of charge to veterans and first responders who need them.

Aanderson chairs the board of the Hope Heels service dog team, an organization footing the bill for training the dogs, which will last two years and cost around $20,000 per dog.

The group hopes the dogs will assist veterans and first responders who suffer from PTSD or any other issue related to their roles.

But in helping first responders and veterans in need, Hope Heels is also making an effort to remember those who died by suicide — by naming the dogs after them.

"We wanted to try to contribute in one small way to ensure that the service of these men and women isn't forgotten," Aanderson said.

Kristine Aanderson holding Turner. Turner was named after Greg Turner, a paramedic who died by suicide in January 2015

Turner, the only dog with a name so far, is named after Greg Turner, an Edmonton paramedic who died by suicide on Jan. 26, 2015, while on shift at the Kildare neighbourhood dispatch station.

The family has given its blessing, she said, and in two years Turner will be able to help a first responder or a veteran in need.

"[Turner] is going to help Greg's memory live on," Aanderson said.

'Honoured to be asked': Greg's brother

For Jason Turner, the request to have one of the puppies named after his brother Greg was something he and his family are onboard with.

"It was out of the blue to us, but we're honoured to be asked," he said. "It's nice that sometimes there can be a few positive things out of this."

Jason Turner said Hope Heels and its initiative to give a service dog to veterans and first responders who need them is something Greg would have been behind.

"Obviously my brother in his chosen field as a paramedic, his job was to take care of people, and I think that he would see this as just an extension of that," he said. "Plus he loved animals and he was a good guy, and he'd want to help in any way he could."

Hope Heels is hoping to name all the puppies in this litter after first responders or veterans who have died by suicide.

The other puppies are still without official names for now, as the Hope Heels organization wants to have the blessing of the families of each first responder or veteran they hope to name the puppies after.

Aanderson said the reaction of families is usually positive.

"They're happy that, in one small way, their family member's sacrifice and effort can live on in something that's so positive, like one of these little service dogs," she said.

Jason Turner hopes the naming of the dog can act as a little healing mechanism for him and his family — while helping the person the dog will serve, too.

"The dog is potentially helping someone who needs a lot of help," he said. As for when the Turner family will go and visit Turner the puppy, he said it will be within the next couple of weeks.

Want to be a puppy raiser?

The next step is to find puppy raiser homes. Each dog needs a home to live in for more than a year; and the dog also needs to go to weekly training classes and has to be brought out in public as much as possible to help acclimate it to any and all situations.

So far, Aanderson said she only has one puppy raiser home, and they need about 10 for this litter.

To apply to be a puppy raiser, you can visit

For Jason Turner, his family is hoping that with the namesake, the family can help stress the importance of this program to veterans and first responders in need.

"Lending our name is the first thing," he said. "Raising awareness is the second thing."


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Jean-Philippe Poulin’s life with PTSD: How a young veteran hit rock bottom, but rose again

Post by Guest on Sun 06 Nov 2016, 19:11

Retired Corporal Jean-Philippe Poulin, a former military police officer, spent his 2009 Afghanistan tour instructing Afghan police and tending to detainees.


Jean-Philippe Poulin’s life with PTSD: How a young veteran hit rock bottom, but rose again

The Globe and Mail Last updated: Thursday, Nov. 03, 2016 11:22PM EDT

This article is part of The Unremembered, a Globe and Mail investigation into soldiers and veterans who died by suicide after deployment during the Afghanistan mission.

The young war vet almost died three times in Afghanistan but this is not what he mentions first.

“I miss doing extraordinary things,” said Jean-Philippe Poulin, who served one tour of duty in Kandahar and now lives in an apartment in Quebec City where he is attending junior college and trying to restart life.

Since a short and tumultuous military career, Mr. Poulin’s life has been a succession of crises, mental illness, a suicide attempt and drift. He’s 31 and a long way from finding a new purpose.

A native of Sherbrooke, Que., Mr. Poulin first joined the military at 17, spent time as a medic and engineer. He bounced between the reserves and regular forces before leaving to enroll in college courses for civilian law enforcement.

Mr. Poulin’s interests merged in 2007 when the armed forces went on a recruitment drive for military police to fill a manpower shortfall. The military also provided him structure. “I was in foster families all my life. I had a pretty hard time as a kid. I needed a family. I needed father figures. I needed discipline. It was an obvious choice,” Mr. Poulin said.

He rejoined the military as a reservist and headed into training. By March 2009 he was a corporal in Kandahar where he split his time between front-line work instructing Afghan police and tending to detainees at the base.

On April 13, Trooper Karine Blais died and four soldiers were wounded when insurgents detonated a bomb under her armoured vehicle. It happened to be Mr. Poulin’s birthday. “That’s when my tour really started, when things started blowing up,” Mr. Poulin said.

That’s when my tour really started, when things started blowing up.

Mr. Poulin said he was almost shot three times by careless Afghan police. Plus, he didn’t trust them. “I slept with my pistol under my pillow,” he said. “We were never really sure if they were on our side.”
Mr. Poulin found guarding Taliban detainees back at the base also stressful. Overseeing the mundane “douche, pipi, caca” routine of detainees, as he described it, may have been mind-numbing but tensions were also high as infantrymen performing guard duty were often angry at detainees – some of whom they blamed for the deaths of friends like Trooper Blais.

“I think we all struggled with the personal feelings and professional ethics of caring for them. There wasn’t a lot of violence toward the Taliban, but it was stressful,” he said.

The stress showed on Cpl. Poulin. He got into trouble for giving first aid to a little girl against the orders of his sergeant because he wanted to help. Sometimes he was called on to guard insurgents or civilians who were patients at the base hospital. He described the surreal experience of standing in a room with a wounded Italian soldier who was blown up by an IED with a suspected Taliban in the next stretcher. “We had a child shot through the neck who could only scream. That’s all he’d do for the rest of his life,” he said. “You’re inundated with pain and start to forget what you’re supposed to be doing there.”

Mr. Poulin had 15 days left in his tour when he was disciplined by a warrant officer for driving a vehicle with emergency lights and sirens at the base when the only urgency was to return the vehicle on time. “I had already been consulting a psychiatrist. I was a nervous wreck. I went to my psychiatrist, who I was already scheduled to see that day, and I basically had a psychotic episode,” he said. “I was broken.”

He was medicated, signed “a promise not to do anything stupid” form and was escorted back to Canada, he said.

Mr. Poulin spent three more years in the military where he received some treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder before his release in 2012. He enrolled in a transitional program provided by a Canadian Forces insurer and dropped out. He followed his girlfriend, herself a soldier, to Gagetown, NB. On Christmas Eve 2014 the relationship fell apart. He stayed in Gagetown until the summer, taking an apprenticeship in aircraft engineering but it paid only $13 an hour. He could barely afford to live on that, let alone help take care of his young son back in Quebec City. “No matter what I did, it seemed like I was always losing something,” he said.

He moved back to Quebec City where the bottom hit. He was broke and alone, and struggling with Veterans Affairs bureaucracy to sort out his next move. Near the end of summer 2015, Mr. Poulin says he became unhinged and disconnected. “I lost it.”

He was doing 180 kilometres per hour when the provincial police stopped him. He was sitting on the side of the road in his Chevy Impala, shaking and crying. He wanted to drive into a truck but he hit a police radar trap first. “They saw my veterans card and I told them I was going to kill myself. They took me to a social worker instead of jail,” he said.

Mr. Poulin is working on taking care of himself while he figures out what his next career might be.

Mr. Poulin says Veterans Affairs has set him up with counselling and a regular stipend. He declared bankruptcy and is doing basic courses in Quebec’s CEGEP junior college system. He’s also back in touch with his 11-year-old son.

“I’m basically getting paid to take care of myself right now,” he said. He’s not sure what he will do next. Some days he thinks he should be a paramedic, other days a physiotherapist or cabinetmaker. “I think I should probably avoid being too close to suffering,” he said. “I think I’ve done my share of that.”

For the first time in years, Mr. Poulin sees room for optimism. It has to get better, he said. There’s nowhere else to go.


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Remembrance Day a time of anxiety, stress for some veterans

Post by Guest on Sun 06 Nov 2016, 18:06

CANADA November 6, 2016 11:40 am

Remembrance Day a time of anxiety, stress for some veterans

By Cassandra Szklarski The Canadian Press

Senator Romeo Dallaire announces he will retire from the Senate during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

TORONTO – After returning from Rwanda, retired lieutenant-general Romeo Dallaire avoided Remembrance Day “like the plague.”

The prospect of donning his uniform for a public ceremony, or even watching a televised parade, was too much after witnessing countless atrocities during that failed peacekeeping mission.

“I had lost soldiers under my command, I had seen soldiers grievously injured under my command, I had seen soldiers lose their mind under my command. And I avoided that day like the plague. At best — at best — I might watch it on TV,” says Dallaire, who was dismissed from service after that mission because of resulting depression, anger and suicidal thoughts.

“One year, the CBC in French had me do a play-by-play and I said, ‘I’ll never do that again.’ It was just so tormenting.”

For most Canadians, Remembrance Day is a time for gratitude, reflection and expressions of national pride. But for many soldiers and veterans scarred by trauma, it’s a time of anxiety, stress and unwelcome triggers.

Those experienced with treating mental health issues stemming from military service say they often see these anxieties in those who have not adjusted well to life after a tour of duty. Their ability to handle Nov. 11 generally corresponds to the experiences they had with the military, how much support they receive from friends and family, and what, if any, treatment they are offered upon return.

Dr. Ruth Lanius notes the day can be especially difficult for those battling post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition marked by recurrent memories of a stressful event, nightmares, and severe emotional distress or physical reactions to any reminders of war-time trauma.

Even though well-meaning citizens organize these events to recognize sacrifice and offer gratitude, a damaged soldier might find the hoopla only increases their survivor’s guilt, or highlights their perceived failures.

“I’ve seen veterans who it’s taken years for them to be able to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony because it triggers them so much and it brings back their own memories,” says Lanius, speaking from London, Ont.

How to handle that stress varies from person to person, she adds. While it might be important for some service members to work through that anxiety and learn to embrace Remembrance Day, that might be too overwhelming for others.

“In some cases it can also be experienced as a tremendous relief because it makes them feel closer to some of their buddies that they’ve lost in war,” she says.

“I met one man last year who hadn’t been able to attend in years and this was the first time he’d been able to attend. Even though I think it caused a lot of emotional distress for him, I think it really also led him to experience a sense of mastery for having been able to attend after such a long period of time.”

Dallaire recalls how his own soldier father, who commanded an infantry regiment in the Second World War, would grudgingly participate in the Remembrance Day parade.

“And he hated it. Because if there’s a time when those that you saw suffer, those that you saw die or injured come back to life in a haunting way, it is that day, during those ceremonies,” says Dallaire, who outlines his battle with PTSD in “Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD,” co-written by Jessica Dee Humphreys and published by Random House Canada.

“They would wash that down with gallons of beer and so on afterwards at the legions.”

Dallaire says his own feelings about the day have swung widely from both extremes. Early on, he joined the parades with pride — but this was before he had suffered any casualties under his command.

“I was a peacetime soldier and so it was a great ceremony, commemoration, and we looked at the vets, we listened to their stories and we got pissed with them and had a great time,” he says.

Things were different after serving in Rwanda, where he was a helpless witness to a horrifying genocide that slaughtered hundreds of thousands of people.

“All those people you lost and all your buddies … they all come back to life,” he says of Remembrance Day.

“It’s digitally clear. It’s slow motion. They’re alive. They’re there with you. The orders you gave to send soldiers to their death, that’s there and real.”

Still, he encouraged the Canadian public to participate in the annual ceremonies, especially politicians and public servants.

And he urged citizens to acknowledge soldier sacrifices and express thanks directly to any military member they might encounter. All of that matters, he says.

“It is a fundamental duty of the citizenry to feel that pride. And to express it. To express it by being there, to express it by buying the poppy, to express it by shaking the hands of a vet or a serving soldier. Actually stopping somebody in uniform on the street and thanking them,” says Dallaire.


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Post by Guest on Tue 01 Nov 2016, 05:47


October 31, 2016

Cornwall Ontario – The 3rd Annual Candlelight Vigil for Veterans and Soldiers with PTSD takes place Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at the Cornwall Legion Cenotaph starting at 5:30pm.

The candlelight vigil is to honour and support for our military heroes and their families after suicide Many Canadian war heroes are still hurting after serving our country proudly in battle. They return home broken and so many end their lives because of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). There are almost 59 Canadian military soldiers claimed suicides each year since the war ended while 158 were killed in combat action during the Afghan War.

Very few of these soldiers ask for help or they are not getting the proper help needed. This continuing rate of military and veteran suicides is very disturbing. Many of us especially those with loved ones who have served or are still serving are asking what can be done to further prevent this kind of tragedy from ever happening again and we appeal to all service members with mental health issues to get help immediately. Suicidal thoughts are a daily occurrence in a soldiers mind that has PTSD.

Friends of Vets, a local peer to peer support group, here in Cornwall helping military veterans, their families and friends letting them know that they are not alone to suffer with any difficulties that they may be experiencing. Many of us in Friends of Vets still are hurting with PTSD issues after our military service. People with PTSD are at high risk for suicide.

News of so many suicides in the military is unacceptable to us and we gladly stand up for our fallen brothers and sisters and speak out to our government, our military leaders, and our community in letting everyone know this problem is real so that we all may help to prevent any more suicides in our Canadian Military and Veterans.


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Re: The battle with PTSD

Post by Guest on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 20:07

Well said pinger.


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Re: The battle with PTSD

Post by pinger on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 19:24

Just a comment, and I do not have ptsd.

But I have a lot of respect for Romeo Dallaire.
A retired LGen. come Senator opens his closet ?

Far beyond any humility or tenacity,
I believe he reflects the very fragile nature we ALL have lurking inside of us...

2 cents
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1243
Location : Facebook-less
Registration date : 2014-03-04

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The battle with PTSD

Post by Guest on Mon 24 Oct 2016, 14:37

By Steph Crosier, Kingston Whig-Standard
Sunday, October 23, 2016 6:51:53 EDT PM

KINGSTON - When the birds start their songs and the sun starts to rise, that is when former Lt.-Gen. Romeo Dallaire gets his best sleep.

"The night is the enemy of someone suffering from PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder]," Dallaire told the Whig-Standard Sunday morning. "The night permits so many of the evil memories, and the fear of being alone and insecurity comes to the fore. When the birds start singing or the first indications of morning or light would come, I'd be able to go to sleep in no time flat."

Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD is the title of Dallaire's first memoir. In the novel he chronicles his journey with raw details of overcoming challenges and suicide attempts. He wrote the book for his Canadian Forces colleagues to show how vulnerable they are to self-harm.

"How vulnerable we are to suicide and how vulnerable we are to self-inflicting wounds," Dallaire said. "That can be getting ourselves thrown in jail for doing bad things to actually physically hurting ourselves. It is an alternative to the pain of living with the traumas that were created by the experiences we've had in the field."

Dallaire said he was continuously being asked by others if they could write his biography. Instead of letting someone else do it, the man who led the United Nations Peacekeeping mission in Rwanda, was medically released from the Canadian Forces and now serves as a Canadian senator, decided he should do it himself. After all, he was there and he's had to live it.

"I do enjoy the writing, but not necessarily the content," Dallaire laughs. "It was more of a call by others to put something out there about the last 20 years and I felt like this may reinforce my campaign on getting earlier support to those who are injured by operational stress injuries."

While talking about mental health and PTSD is coming more and more to the forefront, Dallaire said he wants to break down all barriers.

"I'm trying to open that damn closet door even wider," he said. "I am, in essence, fighting the stigma and I'm fighting the culture we have to mental illness, but mostly to PTSD, what I call an operational stress injury, but that whole realm of what we can't see as an injury but has massive physical and psychological impacts on people.

"I'm trying to break that door right off its hinges."

Dallaire thinks the Canadian Forces are doing a better job of supporting those coming home with operational stress injuries specifically by reinforcing the Canadian Forces Family Resource Centres and ongoing research. He'd like to see a stronger post-deployment evaluation and follow-up, particularly for reservists.

"I think we will have a strong capability of reducing the scale of those causalities," Dallaire said. "It's the early intervention that makes the difference."

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, a virtual institute started by the Royal Military College of Canada, Queen's University and has spread to more than 35 universities across Canada, also needs continued support, said Dallaire.

"That research is critical for preparing before, supporting during, and giving help afterwards to reduce the impact of that injury," Dallaire said. "I think we're on the right road, we need to continue to invest. When we're not fighting is a time when we invest to make sure those who are there are getting the best possible care."

Non-military readers will be able to relate to the book because it isn't just soldiers who suffer from PTSD, said Dallaire.

"It is first responders; the police, the firemen, people in the medical sphere," Dallaire said. "I spoke to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association and how they find themselves in scenarios of having to destroy a whole herd, and the impact on them to take life, even if it's an animal."

Though Dallaire's story can be dark, he says the sun always rises.

"There is a ray of optimism in focusing for the future," Dallaire said. "My work with child soldiers has given me that will to continue."

The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University is attempting to end the use of child soldiers around the world through military-based research, training and advocacy. He said it is possible for countries to stop recruiting their nation's children to fight their wars. Last November, Dallaire was in South Sudan negotiating with a rebel force for two hours. By the end, he was able to rescue more than 300 child soldiers.

"You can influence it," Dallaire said. "If you can get people around the table to talk about children, the worst of them will come around and say, 'We'll stop recruiting children under the age of 13.' Just start with that, and from there the ramifications and the discussions will grow."

Dallaire will be speaking and signing copies of his Waiting for First Light: My Ongoing Battle with PTSD in the Bellevue Room at the Holiday Inn Kingston Waterfront on Wednesday night as part of Kingston WritersFest. The event runs 7:30-8:30 p.m. More information can be found at

To learn more about The Romeo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, go to


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