N.S. Tories push for veterans’ walk-in clinic to treat PTSD in wake of Desmond killings

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N.S. Tories push for veterans’ walk-in clinic to treat PTSD in wake of Desmond killings

Post by Trooper on Sun 05 Feb 2017, 15:37

N.S. Tories push for veterans’ walk-in clinic to treat PTSD in wake of Desmond killings


JORDAN PARKER STAFF REPORTER
Published February 5, 2017 - 11:59am
Last Updated February 5, 2017 - 2:27pm


Lionel Desmond and his daughter Aaliyah are shown in a photo from Facebook.

Nova Scotia’s Progressive Conservative party is calling for a walk-in clinic for the province’s veterans.

Party leader Jamie Baillie announced Sunday that he is calling on government to open the Veterans’ Memorial Walk-In Clinic.

In the wake of January’s tragic shooting in Upper Big Tracadie when PTSD sufferer and veteran Lionel Desmond killed his wife, child, mother and himself, Ballie is calling for federal and provincial government to work together.

“All Nova Scotians learn there are significant gaps in the support systems we have for veterans,” said Baillie in an interview with the Chronicle Herald.

“With the tragedy in Tracadie, this is not an issue of us criticizing the government. We are trying to put something together to fix these problems.”

Joined by retired Canadian army sergeant Roland Lawless and Steve Wessel, Royal Canadian Legion president for Nunavut and Nova Scotia, he said the new facility should be located at Camp Hill in Halifax.

“This is the right thing to do,” said Baillie in a news release issued after a press conference in Halifax.

“These men and women served our country and have come home wounded in ways that we cannot always see. Nova Scotians expect us to support our veterans. It’s how we thank them for their sacrifices and their service.”

The clinic service would support veterans with PTSD, other stress disorders and more.

Trevor Bungay, a commander of Desmond’s in Afghanistan, spoke out about the man’s struggles with PTSD.

“I’ve never seen him without a smile on his face, I’ve never seen him where he didn’t tease me or give me a poke, joked around and made somebody laugh,” Bungay told the Chronicle Herald previously.

“I’ve never seen him angry. It’s so hard to take to know he was in that much pain.”

A relative of Desmond’s claimed he was turned away from St. Martha’s mental health unity in Antigonish before the shootings occurred.

“In regards to the tragic incident in Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County, our hearts go out to family and friends, and our thoughts are with the community during this difficult time,” wrote Kristen Lipscombe, spokeswoman for the NSHA previously, in a press statement.

“The tragedy would be compounded if anyone in Nova Scotia were to not seek care because they have formed an impression that help is not available or that they may be turned away if a facility is busy. Help is available, in many forms.”

“This is true of St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Antigonish, which has been the focus of recent attention, and every facility in the province,” said the statement.

Roland Lawless, a veteran from Croatia and Bosnia who suffers from PTSD, was supportive of the Conservative call to action.

“What’s happening now isn’t working and our veterans deserve better,” said Lawless in a news release.

“Emergency rooms and clinics can be chaotic for veterans. We know they’re simply not seeking medical attention even when they need it because they’re avoiding the risk of triggers and setbacks. This is about the health care that these men and women deserve as Canadians.”

Baillie said if the McNeil government implements a plan, there will be no opposition from his party.

“We see this as a chance to support our veterans by working together and helping them heal,” he said.

“Mr. Desmond’s story caught the attention of all Nova Scotians, but veterans have been asking for help with PTSD and other trauma for years.”

This would be the first clinic of its kind in Canada, in the province with the highest amount of veterans per capita in the nation.

“Mental illness is the greatest health care crisis of our time. The Progressive Conservatives chose it as the big issue we need to champion,” Baillie said.

“That decision led us to Roland Lawless and the plan to turn the Veteran’s Memorial Hospital into a walk-in clinic for Nova Scotia’s veterans.”

While health care is governed by the province, Veteran’s Affairs is a federal matter. But Baillie hopes everyone can work together.

“Surely, two levels of government can work together on behalf of veterans,” he said.

“Our veterans gave us the ability to debate, negotiate and act in a free and open democracy. We can honour them by working together as political parties and levels of government and return the favour.”

He said such a service could have helped stop tragedies like the one in Upper Big Tracadie.

“One can only imagine how different things could have been if this clinic was in place for Lionel and his family.”

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1438918-n.s.-tories-push-for-veterans%E2%80%99-walk-in-clinic-to-treat-ptsd-in-wake-of-desmond-ki
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Province open to partnership on veterans clinic

Post by Trooper on Tue 07 Feb 2017, 07:07

Province open to partnership on veterans clinic


JORDAN PARKER STAFF REPORTER
Published February 6, 2017 - 7:58pm
Last Updated February 6, 2017 - 8:02pm


Liberals would partner with Ottawa for PTSD sufferers



Jamie Baillie announced his support for a clinic for veteran PTSD sufferers to be held at the Camp Hill site in Halifax.

Stephen McNeil’s Liberal government is open to a partnership with Ottawa to open a walk-in clinic for veteran PTSD sufferers in Halifax.

“While the federal government is responsible for Veterans Affairs, the province would be more than happy to partner with Ottawa to look at how to increase supports for our veterans,” wrote department of health spokeswoman Tracy Barron, in an emailed statement.

“The Department of Health and Wellness has been in contact with Veterans Affairs over the last month, to talk about PTSD and supports for veterans. Those discussions are ongoing.”

The news comes after opposition leader Jamie Baillie called a press conference Sunday to urge Liberals and Conservatives, as well as the feds and province, to work together on the growing issue.

He announced his support for a clinic at the Camp Hill site in Halifax.

“These men and women served our country and have come home wounded in ways that we cannot always see. Nova Scotians expect us to support our veterans. It’s how we thank them for their sacrifices and their service,” he told the Chronicle Herald Sunday.

The call came after the January shooting in Upper Big Tracadie, when veteran and PTSD sufferer Lionel Desmond killed his family and himself, after reportedly unsuccessful attempts to get help for his condition.

“All Nova Scotians learn there are significant gaps in the support systems we have for veterans,” said Baillie.

A relative of the Desmonds said St. Martha’s mental health unit in Antigonish turned him away before the shootings, a claim the Nova Scotia Health Authority denies.

“In regards to the tragic incident in Upper Big Tracadie, Guysborough County, our hearts go out to family and friends, and our thoughts are with the community during this difficult time,” wrote Kristen Lipscombe, spokeswoman for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, previously, in a press statement.

“The tragedy would be compounded if anyone in Nova Scotia were to not seek care because they have formed an impression that help is not available or that they may be turned away if a facility is busy. Help is available, in many forms.”

Marc Lescoutre, media spokesman for Veteran Affairs Canada, said they were committed to ensuring eligible veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and their families have the mental health support they need, when they need it.

“We are working hard to ensure that each and every time a veteran comes forward with a mental health concern, they receive the support they need,” he wrote.

“It is important to note that VAC does not own the Camp Hill Veterans Memorial facility. It is an accredited provincial health care facility where Veterans Affairs Canada financially supports long-term care for veterans.”

Veterans Affairs Canada has 4,000 health care professionals in the nation who deliver mental health services to veterans and released RCMP officers with PTSD and other stress-related issues.

“In 2016, a VAC-funded OSI clinic was officially opened in Dartmouth, to meet the OSI treatment needs of eligible Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces and Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and to provide support to their families,” he wrote.

“Additionally, the Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) Program offers confidential peer support to CAF members, veterans and their families, trained peer support and family peer support co-ordinators, who typically have first-hand experience with these types of injuries.

“The department welcomes continued discussions on this important topic to support the well being of our veterans.”

Baillie said Sunday if the McNeil government implements a plan, then his party would not oppose. It appears the two sides are now working toward a common goal.

“Health Minister Leo Glavine will be meeting with N.S. MP Darrell Samson, as well as advocates for the proposed walk-in clinic later this month,” said the statement from Barron.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1439483-province-open-to-partnership-on-veterans-clinic

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