Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.


Messages - Canadian_Vet

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 124
1
Mentally ill soldiers are more likely to be let go: research

By Murray Brewster
The Canadian Press

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/1296319/mentally-ill-soldier-more-likely-to-be-let-go/



OTTAWA – New research by National Defence shows that soldiers with mental health conditions, especially those with Afghan war illnesses, are far more likely to be declared unfit for military service and almost 70 per cent of them can expect to be mustered out within 10 years of deployment.

The startling figures are contained in an analysis by the Canadian Forces Health Services Branch, which reviewed the medical files of over 30,000 troops who deployed as part of the nearly 12 year Afghan campaign.

The analysis focuses on the long-term career impact of service-related mental disorders and how they are impacted by the military’s universality of service rule, which requires all members to be fit to deploy both at home and overseas.

In the fall of 2013, a number of soldiers, many with post-traumatic stress, came forward to say they were being declared unfit and hustled out of uniform.

The analysis, by Mark Zamorski and David Boulos, finds that five years after the first deployment, 40 per cent of soldiers with a mental-health diagnosis were likely to have developed career limitations that would lead to being released, compared with 11 per cent with no medical condition.

After 10 years, the figures jump to 68.8 per cent and 19.8 per cent respectively.

National Defence has invested a lot of time and effort to convince soldiers suffering with mental illness to seek help, but a major barrier in the “self identification” campaign has been the worry that once they seek help, their careers are over.

Former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran said it is a real fear and the new research will come as little comfort.

“The soldiers call it going away to the island of broken toys,” Stogran said. “It’s a career death sentence and they’re not coming back.”

Being diagnosed with a career-limiting condition — mental or physical — does not mean an automatic medical release, but it does set the wheels in motion, said Zamorski.

Some people with either depression, post-traumatic stress or anxiety, which make up the bulk of the post-combat afflictions, respond well to treatment and can lead productive lives, said Zamorski.

But they still might not meet the service standard, he cautioned.

“A lot of people are found to be unfit for continued service, even though we know many of them are just great,” Zamorski said. “These are people, many of whom we known from our clinicians, are great. Yes, they have PTSD — or they had PTSD and they no longer meet the criteria for the condition. Maybe they have to take medication and they would be fit for just about any other job under the sun, but not for military service.”

Stogran said he believes the universality standard needs to be reviewed and pointed to the fact that overweight — or physically unfit — members can obtain a doctor’s exemption.

“I could take you on a walk through (National Defence Headquarters) and show you all the plugs in uniform who couldn’t do the PT test,” he said. “So they’ve really got to rethink this.”

Prior to the Bosnia peacekeeping mission of the 1990s, Stogran said, the army made room for soldiers who may have been broken by past wars, giving them barracks tasks that were essential and but didn’t involve operations.

“All that they want to do is still feel like they contribute to the team somehow,” he said. “That by itself is very therapeutic.”

2
On Wed March 11, CN will be hosting a luncheon in Moncton for veterans who might be interested in working at CN.

If you or anyone you think might be interested can contact me at bruce.buck@cn.ca or call me 861-7137 for details.

3
Federal Budget 2015: Veterans Affairs Programs, Services Project Modest Increases

CP  |  By The Canadian Press
Posted: 02/25/2015 4:30 am EST

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/02/25/early-projections-suggest_n_6749814.html



OTTAWA - The Harper government's road map to this year's federal budget suggests it is prepared to pour more money into programs and services for the country's veterans, while largely holding the line on defence spending.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement released the 2015-16 spending estimates on Tuesday, even though it's unclear when the budget will be tabled.

The Conservative government's final fiscal plan before this year's election was postponed until at least April by Finance Minister Joe Oliver, who said he needed the time to assess the impact of collapsing oil prices.

The government has been under mounting political pressure to improve the suite of benefits and entitlements for ex-soldiers.

The estimates, which are not the final word on the budget, project modest increases in the amount spent on disability awards and supplementary benefits.

Despite that, overall spending at Veterans Affairs is expected to decline by 1.5 per cent— or $54 million next year, something federal officials attribute to the declining number of Second World War and Korean War veterans.

Veterans Affairs Canada spends just over $3.5 billion per year.

Over at National Defence, another politically-charged portfolio, spending is expected to increase by 1.5 per cent — $280 million — in the coming year, bringing the military budget to $18.9 billion.

Officials say they will be saving $709.2 million in capital costs, some of which is likely related to the cancellation of the army's plans for a close-combat vehicle and delays in acquiring maritime helicopters for the air force.

4
UPDATE: Jan 26 2015: POC 10 - Marijuana for Medical Purposes + Vapourizer - PDC 10 - Marihuana a des fins medicales + Vaporisateur

Registration is required to view this and all future post's. With registration, you will be notified of any updates and it prevents spamming.

http://canadianveteransadvocacy.com/VACDND_Services-Benefits/?p=74

5
Case Summary

F&R Date: 2014–05–13

The grievor applied to participate in the Vocational Rehabilitation Program for Serving Members (VRPSM). He met the eligibility criteria and submitted a detailed plan to his Commanding Officer (CO) for approval. Afterward, the grievor requested an earlier release date, shortening the timeframe in which to complete his VRPSM plan. The grievor's CO denied his VRPSM application.

The Initial Authority confirmed the grievor's eligibility for the program, but noted that the CO's approval was a requirement for the program. The Initial Authority also pointed out that the proposed VRPSM plan was not feasible due to the very limited amount of time available to execute it and denied the grievance.
The Committee considered the Canadian Forces General Message 151/01, which is the authoritative reference for the VRPSM, as well as the VRPSM Aide-Mémoire, which provides guidance to Canadian Armed Forces members and their COs with regard to the VRPSM.

The Committee found that the grievor was eligible for the VRPSM program. When considering the grievor's VRPSM plan, in light of the amended release date, the Committee concluded that the proposed timeframe rendered the VRPSM plan unfeasible. Consequently, the Committee found that the decision to deny the grievor's VRPSM application was reasonable.
The Committee recommended that the Chief of the Defence Staff deny the grievance.

CDS Decision Summary

CDS Decision Date: 2015–01–22

The FA agreed with the Committee's findings and recommendation that the grievance be denied.

-----

Is not contrary to DCSM DIRECTIVE AND PROCEDURE 4.08 INTEGRATED TRANSITION PLAN (ITP) http://canadianveteransadvocacy.com/VACDND_Services-Benefits/?p=188 ??

6
CANFORGEN 032/15 CMP 015/15 091504Z FEB 15

VIRTUAL LAUNCH OF A MILITARY FAMILY PANEL PROCESS - LANCEMENT VIRTUEL DU PROCESSUS POUR UN GROUPE DE CONSULTATION DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES

UNCLASSIFIED

I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE VIRTUAL LAUNCH OF A MILITARY FAMILY PANEL PROCESS
 
 
IN OCTOBER 2014, MILITARY FAMILY PANEL PROCESS WAS INTRODUCED AT THE STRENGTHENING RESILIENCE CONFERENCE IN CORNWALL, AS A REPLACEMENT TO THE FORMER NATIONAL MILITARY FAMILY COUNCIL
 
 
THE MILITARY FAMILY PANEL PROCESS IS AN ONGOING CONSULTATION DIRECTLY WITH FAMILIES TO INFORM POLICY, BENEFITS AND PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AS THEY AFFECT MILITARY FAMILIES
 
 
MILITARY FAMILIES WILL BE ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE MILITARY FAMILY PANEL PROCESS THROUGH THE FAMILY INFORMATION LINE BY CALLING 1-800-866-4546, COMMUNICATING VIA EMAIL AT MYVOICE(A) FAMILYFORCE.CA OR THROUGH OUR FACEBOOK PAGE. FAMILIES WHO WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WAYS TO SHARE THEIR VOICE, CAN VISIT WWW.FAMILYFORCE.CA
 
CANFORGEN 032/15 CMP 015/15 091504Z FEB 15
LANCEMENT VIRTUEL DU PROCESSUS POUR UN GROUPE DE CONSULTATION DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES
UNCLASSIFIED
 
 
REFS: A. CANFORGEN 154/09 CMP 065/09 021424Z SEP 09 - PROGRAMME DE SOUTIEN AUX FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES - PROCHAINES ETAPES
 
 
 
JE SUIS FIER D ANNONCER LE LANCEMENT VIRTUEL DU PROCESSUS POUR UN GROUPE DE CONSULTATION DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES
 
 
EN OCTOBRE 2014 LA DEMARCHE DU PROCESSUS POUR UN GROUPE DE CONSULTATION DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES A ETE PRESENTEE A LA CONFERENCE RENFORCER LA RESILIENCE TENUE A CORNWALL POUR REMPLACER L ANCIEN CONSEIL NATIONAL POUR LES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES
 
 
LA DEMARCHE DU PROCESSUS POUR UN GROUPE DE CONSULTATION DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES EST UN PROCESSUS DE CONSULTATION POUR FACONNER LES POLITIQUES, LES AVANTAGES ET L ADMINISTRATION DES PROGRAMMES QUI TOUCHENT LES FAMILLES
 
 
NOUS INVITERONS LES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES A PARTICIPER A LA DEMARCHE DU GROUPE DES FAMILLES DES MILITAIRES AU MOYEN DE LA LIGNE D INFORMATION POUR LES FAMILLES, AU 1-800-866-4546, EN COMMUNIQUANT PAR COURRIEL A MAVOIX(A)FORCEDELAFAMILLE.CA, OU ENCORE PAR LA PAGE FACEBOOK. LES FAMILLES QUI DESIRENT OBTENIR D AUTRES RENSEIGNEMENTS SUR LES MOYENS DE SE FAIRE ENTENDRE PEUVENT LE FAIRE EN VISITANT LE SITE WWW.FORCEDELAFAMILLE.CA

7
Todd Stride and Paige Mattie from Military Family Services put together a one day dialogue and knowledge transfer session last week that forged many new connections and inspired new collaboration.  Wednesday was a highly informative and emotional day for all concerned and built on initial work with Vanier, the TPL Symposium last fall and the MH session that followed. You may recall we developed four themes for action following that dialogue on 03 Oct: Communications, stigma reduction, a camp for youth of parents dealing w OSI or PTS and a joint MFS/VAC education program focussed on better providing resiliency and self-care skills to military family members who play an essential caretaker role for ill and inured partner or child.

The session last week also reinforced commitments from a number of Leadership circle members (CMHA, VETS Canada, Vanier, VAC, DGHS, MFS) and brought in new participants from the Caregivers Brigade, Strongest Families Institute, Camp Erin, Soldier On, and Kathryn Linford from COPE/Wounded Warriors. I also invited Danielle Boutilier formerly of NMFC as a caregiver to share her knowledge and experience.

We had three objectives to start the day:
-       knowledge transfer among the organizations;
-       to collectively share the best ideas; and
-       work together to create lasting solutions that can provide benefits to national mental health programming.

We committed to the following as actionable items as we concluded the day:

1.      Big actionable is to develop common MH portal (not familyforce, rather one portal for MH, gov't facilitated but with all resources in one place)... Think www.Bigwhitewall.com<www.Bigwhitewall.com%20> (UK) but Canadian and family-centred. Familyforce would of course link to this resource.
2.      Make our online resources context based and sorted to user identified profile (smart algorithm behind our bank of resources).
3.      Dr. Jay Foundation providing pro-bono grief counselling for MFRC staff;
4.      Increased military family presence in Soldier On activities;
5.      MFS continued piloting of Strongest Families and CMHA national mental health programs; and
6.      Potential MFS piloting of COPE with Chris and Kathryn Linford.

Actions to continue:

Communications,
Stigma reduction,
Youth camp, and
Increased organizational partnering that will directly benefit military families.


While we all agree the system of support is far from perfect, I wanted to share some quotes from the day as they inspire me and my team to continue this work:

"We have come so far."
"If we had these resources when I was going through this back then, things might have been different"
"What our organization has gained in insight today will fuel our work for years."
"It is so good to finally be connected with..."
"We need to get your program (Strongest Families) at every base"

Shout out to CMHA and Paula Ramsay for being the catalysts for this event.


David B. Millar
Lieutenant-General/Lieutenant-général
Commander MILPERSCOM/Commandant de COMPERSMIL

8
Remembrance - Commémoration / Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service
« on: February 21, 2015, 10:21:50 PM »
Please Don’t Thank Me for My Service

The New York Times 7 hrs ago By MATT RICHTEL

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/please-don%E2%80%99t-thank-me-for-my-service/ar-BBhPFEn?ocid=UP97DHP



HUNTER GARTH was in a gunfight for his life — and about to lose.

He and seven other Marines were huddled in a mud hut, their only refuge after they walked into an ambush in Trek Nawa, a Taliban stronghold in Afghanistan. Down to his last 15 bullets, one buddy already terribly wounded, Mr. Garth pulled off his helmet, smoked a cheap Afghan cigarette, and “came to terms with what was happening.”

“I’m going to die here with my best friends,” he recalled thinking.

I didn’t know any of this — nor the remarkable story of his survival that day — when I met him two months ago in Colorado while reporting for an article about the marijuana industry, for which Mr. Garth and his company provide security. But I did know he was a vet and so I did what seemed natural: I thanked him for his service.

“No problem,” he said.

It wasn’t true. There was a problem. I could see it from the way he looked down. And I could see it on the faces of some of the other vets who work with Mr. Garth when I thanked them too. What gives, I asked? Who doesn’t want to be thanked for their military service?

Many people, it turns out. Mike Freedman, a Green Beret, calls it the “thank you for your service phenomenon.” To some recent vets — by no stretch all of them — the thanks comes across as shallow, disconnected, a reflexive offering from people who, while meaning well, have no clue what soldiers did over there or what motivated them to go, and who would never have gone themselves nor sent their own sons and daughters.

To these vets, thanking soldiers for their service symbolizes the ease of sending a volunteer army to wage war at great distance — physically, spiritually, economically. It raises questions of the meaning of patriotism, shared purpose and, pointedly, what you’re supposed to say to those who put their lives on the line and are uncomfortable about being thanked for it.

Mr. Garth, 26, said that when he gets thanked it can feel self-serving for the thankers, suggesting that he did it for them, and that they somehow understand the sacrifice, night terrors, feelings of loss and bewilderment. Or don’t think about it at all.

“I pulled the trigger,” he said. “You didn’t. Don’t take that away from me.”

The issue has been percolating for a few years, elucidated memorably in “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a 2012 National Book Award finalist about a group of soldiers being feted at halftime of a Dallas Cowboys game. The soldiers express dread over people rushing to offer thanks, pregnant with obligation and blood lust and “their voices throbbing like lovers.”

The issue has also surfaced, at least tangentially, with Brian Williams’s admission that he’d exaggerated about being in a Chinook helicopter hit by enemy fire. In explaining his failed memory, the NBC News anchor said: “This was a bungled attempt by me to thank one special veteran and by extension our brave military men and women veterans everywhere, those who have served while I did not.”



The idea of giving thanks while not participating themselves is one of the core vet quibbles, said Mr. Freedman, the Green Beret. The joke has become so prevalent, he said, that servicemen and women sometimes walk up to one another pretending to be “misty-eyed” and mockingly say “Thanks for your service.”

Mr. Freedman, 33, feels like the thanks “alleviates some of the civilian guilt,” adding: “They have no skin in the game with these wars. There’s no draft.”

No real opinions either, he said. “At least with Vietnam, people spit on you and you knew they had an opinion.”

“Thank you for your service,” he said, is almost the equivalent of “I haven’t thought about any of this.”

For most of us, I suspect, offering thanks reflects genuine appreciation — even if ill-defined. It was a dirty job and someone had to do it. If not these men and women, then us or our children.

Tim O’Brien, a Vietnam vet and the author of the acclaimed book “The Things They Carried,” told me that his war’s vets who believed in the mission like to be thanked. Others, himself included, find that “something in the stomach tumbles” from expressions of appreciation that are so disconnected from the “evil, nasty stuff you do in war.”

The more so, he said, “when your war turns out to have feet of clay” — whether fighting peasants in Vietnam or in the name of eradicating weapons of mass destruction that never materialized.

But doesn’t their sacrifice merit thanks? “Patriotic gloss,” responded Mr. O’Brien, an unofficial poet laureate of war who essentially elevates the issue to the philosophical; to him, we’re thanking without having the courage to ask whether the mission is even right.

It’s hard to assess how widespread such ideas are among the men and women of today’s generation. So, rather than try to sum up what invariably are many views on the subject, I’ll relate more of Mr. Garth’s story.

He grew up in Florida, son of a Vietnam vet, grandson of a decorated World War II vet, himself a bit of a class clown who drank his way out of college and wound up working the docks. The Marines offered a chance to make something of himself and, despite his parents’ pleadings otherwise, to fight.

It wasn’t what he romanticized. First training and waiting. Then the reality that he might die, along with his friends — 17 of them did, in action, by accident or by suicide. And, he now asks, for what?

His ideas about the need to prove himself slipped away, along with any patriotic fervor. He hates it when people dismiss the Taliban as imbeciles when he saw them as cunning warriors. To Mr. Garth, the war became solely about survival among brothers in arms.

Like that day in September 2011 when Mr. Garth was surrounded in the hut. A last-ditch call for help over the radio prompted a small group of fellow Marines to run three miles to save the day, one of them carrying 170 pounds of gear, including a 22-pound machine gun and 50 pounds of ammo.

THE thanks Mr. Garth gets today remind him of both the bad times and the good, all of which carry more meaning than he has now in civilian life. Hardest is the gratitude from parents of fallen comrades. “That’s the most painful thank you,” he said. “It’s not for me, and I’m not your son.”

He struggled to explain his irritation. “It’s not your fault,” he said of those thanking him. “But it’s not my fault either.”

So what to say to a vet? Maybe promise to vote next time, Mr. Freedman said, or offer a scholarship or job (as, he said, some places have stepped up and done). Stand up for what’s right, suggested Mr. O’Brien. Give $100 to a vet, Ben Fountain, author of the “Billy Lynn” book, half-joked, saying it would at least show some sacrifice on the thanker’s part.

Mr. Garth appreciates thanks from someone who makes an effort to invest in the relationship and experience. Or a fellow vet who gets it. Several weeks ago, he visited one of his soul mates from the mud hut firefight, which they refer to as the Battle of the Unmarked Compound. They drank Jameson whiskey in gulps.

“We cried in each other’s arms until we both could tell each other we loved each other,” Mr. Garth said. “We each said, thank you for what you’ve done for me.”

9
Victorious over cancer, Windsor woman now fights military

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/news/victorious-over-cancer-windsor-woman-now-fights-military



Doug Schmidt
Feb 20, 2015 - 8:22 PM EST
Last Updated: Feb 20, 2015 - 8:22 PM EST

A 24-year-old Windsor woman has beaten the cancer that attacked her brain, but now she has to move back to the west coast to get the necessary treatment to try and restore her vision.

Robyn Young had corrective eye surgery performed before doctors found the actual cause of her double-vision — a toonie-sized tumour growing in her brain. With the tumour removed last summer, the earlier surgical intervention on her optical nerve and muscle means her double-vision continues, and with it the daily vomiting triggered by a brain trying to make sense of the unfocused imagery captured by Young’s eye.

“Her vision impairment is now directly due to that (earlier eye) surgery,” said her mother Pearl Osmond.

Since the discovery of the tumour last June, Young and her family have been fighting with Canada’s military establishment to have her treatment and her recovery funded. For four years while she displayed the classic symptoms of having a brain tumour, Young was a full-time soldier, but doctors didn’t clue in on what the real source of her headaches, chronic nausea and double-vision might have been.

It was only after passing out and then being rushed to hospital and undergoing a CAT scan that the proper diagnosis was made, followed quickly by emergency brain surgery to remove a tumorous growth.

At that time, however, Young, in anticipation of commencing nursing studies in the fall, had cut back on her naval reservist status and was no longer medically covered by the Canadian Forces.

“The military won’t accept liability for the misdiagnosis,” said Osmond, an Afghanistan war veteran and former longtime Canadian Forces operations officer.

For her “vision rehabilitation,” Young must return to Victoria, BC, her home at the time of last year’s diagnosis. Osmond said there’s a waiting list for such help in Ontario.

To assist with the cost of the move and other expenses, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 594 at 5030 Howard Ave. is hosting a fundraiser Feb. 21 from 2 to 7 p.m. It’s $20 to attend and there are door prizes.

Osmond said she and her daughter will be in Ottawa next week, meeting with MPs and lobbying Veteran’s Affairs for assistance.

Perhaps stung by a recent spate of bad-news stories on the alleged shabby treatment of Canadian soldiers seeking help at home, the federal government just this month began covering the ongoing drug costs of Young’s treatment, which, at about $1,000 a month since last June, had depleted the family’s savings.

The family wants the military to recognize that Young was a full-time soldier when she had the tumour and that her treatment, including medical and drug costs, would have been fully covered with a proper and timelier diagnosis. Osmond said the Canadian Forces are currently conducting a “quality-of-care review” into the matter.

“It’s been a fight, but we’re getting there,” said Osmond, who gives much credit and thanks for the support of Windsor’s “really good military family community.”

Osmond said her daughter dreams of fully restoring her vision and then returning to the military, where she started in the naval reserves at age 16, and becoming a logistics officer.

“They shouldn’t just give up on this young woman,” said Osmond.

Anyone who can’t attend the fundraiser but still wishes to assist can contact the family through Osmond’s business website at shop.auntbeescleaning.com.

dschmidt@windsorstar.com

twitter/com/schmidtcity

10
Confidence in Veterans Affairs management plummets to new low: internal staff poll

Check this link due to pictures: http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/veterans-affairs-sees-confidence-management-plummet-new-low

Veterans Affairs has gone from bad to worse. Just ask its employees.

Four in 10 of the department's staff have lost confidence in their senior management -- a rate far higher than the broader public service.

While the Conservative government has been in damage control mode over the veterans file for the better part of the last year, recently replacing embattled minister Julian Fantino and trying to rehabilitate their image to "undo the damage done to [the] party's pro-military reputation," the new internal survey suggests the problems at Veterans Affairs Canada may run far deeper than they'd like to admit.

The newly released 2014 Public Service Employee Survey presents dramatic numbers showing that a plurality of rank-and-file public servants have lost confidence in the management of the Veterans Affairs Canada.

When asked if "I have confidence in the senior management of my department or agency," 41% answered in the negative while only 38% answered in the positive. That's in contrast to the broader public service, where only 27% answered in the negative while 53% answered in the positive.

Since 2008, the number of VAC employees who say they're not confident in management has increased by 19%, while the number who say they are confident in management has fallen by 23%. Noticeably, the number who "strongly disagreed" that they had confidence in managers also increased 12% since 2008:



Another sore spot for VAC employees is "lack of stability" in their department.

Rising sharply by 21% since 2008, 48% said their quality of work "always" or "often" suffered due to lack of stability at VAC, while an additional 29% said "sometimes." Only 20% said "rarely" or "never":



You'll start to notice a pattern developing here:



What about Conservative cuts to the public service? Could those be having an impact on morale?

When asked if their quality of work suffers from "having to do the same or more work, but with fewer resources," a full 58% answered in the negative while only 17% said lack of resources wasn't effecting the quality of their work.

This also marks a sharp increase from 2008 when 16% fewer VAC employees cited problems with resources:



Amidst ongoing criticism on the file, the Conservatives announced in December that they'd be making new hires to VAC.

But it doesn't sound like VAC employees are terribly confident management will "resolve concerns raised in this survey":






12
Fix bill giving wounded troops jobs priority, watchdogs say

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/fix-bill-giving-wounded-troops-jobs-priority-watchdogs-say-1.2242061#ixzz3SCXTmZ6O



Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, February 18, 2015 1:30PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 18, 2015 5:48PM EST

OTTAWA -- The military's watchdog urged the Senate on Wednesday to fix a bill intended to give wounded ex-soldiers first crack at federal civil service jobs, but the Harper government appears ready to allow it to go through as written.

Gary Walbourne, the Canadian Forces ombudsman, says National Defence should have the power to determine whether a soldier's medical release is a result of military service.

Bill C-27 gives Veterans Affairs that responsibility, something Walbourne says doesn't make sense, adds unnecessary red tape and could ultimately defeat the purpose of expedited job placement.

"To have a process to determine what is already been determined, for me, just defies logic," Walbourne told the Senate's veterans affairs sub-committee, populated on Wednesday by mostly Conservative members of the upper chamber.

The legislation, which gives wounded troops the top statutory priority for federal jobs, deserves to be passed, said veterans ombudsman Guy Parent, who called on the committee to attach an "observation" to the bill noting the concerns of watchdogs before it comes up for a final vote.

Walbourne argued that National Defence is best suited to justify why a soldier is being given a medical discharge, not the veterans department, which should only assess the impact of the release on an individual.

Allowing Veterans Affairs to decide whether an injury is the result of military service could take as long as six months, delaying not only job applications, but also the distribution of benefits, Walbourne said.

What may seem like a bureaucratic squabble between departments has long been a major sore spot for ex-soldiers, some of whom were let go from the military only to find veterans affairs does not see their medical condition in the same way.

Kayleigh Kanoza, a spokeswoman for Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole, said the government "would like to see this bill brought into force as soon as possible," but wouldn't say whether it is prepared to entertain changes at this stage.

"We are committed to continuous improvement in our treatment of veterans, and look forward to seeing the Senate's study," she said in an email.

The Conservatives came under fire in 2013 after troops who were considered medically unfit complained they were being summarily released. The government responded by introducing legislation to bump those wounded soldiers to the front of the line for civil service openings.

Mike Blais, of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said he can't understand why the government would allow a flawed bill to become law when two of its watchdogs have already sounded the alarm.

"They just want to ram it through before the election, wrap themselves in the flag and say they've done something," said Blais.

Liberal MP Marc Garneau, a former member of the military, said the Conservatives almost never amend their legislation and the opposition considers this is O'Toole's first real test as minister.

"If the government really wants to send a strong signal that it is listening and that it does want to make change, everybody is going to be watching Mr. O'Toole to see if anything happens," said Garneau.

Conservative Sen. Carolyn Stewart-Olsen said she's been told that the two departments are already working together to make the transition between military and civilian life seamless and that "the red tape will be eliminated."

13
Soldiers’ group highlights dark truth about military service

http://www.guelphmercury.com/opinion-story/5343716-soldiers-group-highlights-dark-truth-about-military-service/

Guelph Mercury
By Editorial

The Guelph cenotaph has seen many tributes to fallen soldiers.

Thousands have come to the memorial to reflect on the costs of war that Canadians have waged.

Countless people with connections to military service for Canada have contemplated loss and sacrifice and suffering at the site.

And yet, a soldiers' ceremony planned for the cenotaph on Saturday will be a different experience at the site.

A group of veterans, their relatives and other supporters are to be at the war memorial that day to honour Canadians in military service who took their own lives.

"We want these families to know we care," said Jason Mullis, a representative for the non-profit Honour Our Canadian Soldiers organization, which is holding the candlelight ceremony Saturday at 3 p.m.

Mullis says the group's motto is "never alone."

This solemnization follows similar events in other Canadian centres. It also comes in the wake of the revelation last year that more Armed Forces personnel died by suicide during the period of Canada's 12-year Afghan mission than the 138 soldiers killed in combat during that conflict.

That jarring disclosure speaks to the scope of the operational stress injury challenges that many returning soldiers face. It also indicates in a stark manner the need to enhance mental health services and support within the Canadian Forces employee community. Further, it paints a statistical picture for how many soldiers and their families may have died from influences of having served with the Armed Forces, via suicide, and failed to receive an honourable and official memorial tribute.

Mullis' group says the stigma associated with suicide in the military, and the loneliness and isolation that family members feel, must be addressed publicly and by Ottawa.

Honour Our Canadian Soldiers is correct on this point.

We hope the vigil Saturday and the group's ongoing advocacy and other efforts help spur a positive public and political response in relation to this underappreciated but dark truth.

14
Soldiers more likely to have experienced childhood abuse: study

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/soldiers-more-likely-to-have-experienced-childhood-abuse-study-1.2237375#ixzz3Rqx4Agzs


A Canadian flag sits on a member of the Canadian Armed Forces that leaving from CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Ont., on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. (Lars Hagberg / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, February 15, 2015 2:38PM EST

OTTAWA -- Canadian soldiers appear to be more likely than their civilian counterparts to have experienced abuse, including corporal punishment, or to have witnessed domestic violence as children, new research aimed at exploring the incidence of depression and suicide in the military suggests.

The as-yet-unpublished findings by health researchers at the Department of National Defence are contained in an internal abstract -- an abridged sample of the results -- that was recently delivered as a presentation to mental health professionals.

The research was carried out by the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and the Canadian Forces Directorate of Mental Health.

Although the data is still being studied, preliminary results suggest 39 per cent of military members had been slapped or spanked more than three times as children; comparable research on the general population indicates some 22 per cent of civilians had the same experience as kids.

Seventeen per cent of military members reported having been thrown, pushed or grabbed more than three times as children, compared with 11 per cent of civilians.

Among military respondents, 15 per cent reported being kicked, bitten, punched, choked, burned or attacked as youngsters, compared with 10 per cent of civilians, while 10 per cent of soldiers also reported witnessing "intimate partner violence" while growing up. In that category, the civilian figure was eight per cent.

The study relies on data in the mental health portion of the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey, which questioned more than 25,000 people, and the 2013 Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey, which is based on responses from more than 8,100 members of the military.

The Canadian Press was denied a request for additional information beyond the abstract because the research has yet to be officially published. But Dr. Mark Zamorski, one of the study's co-authors, did say the conclusions mirror similar research in the U.S.

They're important in understanding why members of the Canadian military have a higher than average rate of depression, which is linked to suicide, Zamorski said.

"For reasons no one understands ... the people that end up being attracted to or choose military service -- for whatever reason -- have higher rates of exposure to childhood adversity than civilians, or people who don't elect to be in the military," Zamorski said in an interview.

"And given that childhood adversity is such a powerful risk factor for depression, and for suicidal thinking, suicidal behaviour and many other adverse health outcomes -- that, I think, is an important piece of the picture."

Researchers "haven't dug deep enough yet" to fully understand the links, however, Zamorski cautioned.

"We'll know a lot more in a little bit of time," he said. "They were very preliminary numbers. If it didn't fit in with the larger narrative we saw elsewhere, we wouldn't have presented it."

In the U.S., a major 2013 study by the mental health research branch of the Veterans Administration, Duke University and the University of Alabama concluded that abuse, neglect and other childhood ordeals were major contributors to problems for soldiers later in life.

"These findings suggest that evaluation of childhood trauma is important in the clinical assessment and treatment of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among military personnel and veterans," said the report by Dr. Nagy Youssef.

In 2014, there were 19 suicides in the Canadian military, according to recently released figures. That's one of the highest levels in the past decade, surpassed only by 22 suicides in 2009 and 25 in 2011 -- the final year of Canada's combat mission in Kandahar.

Much of the public attention in the aftermath of the Afghan war has been focused on post-traumatic stress, which counts depression among its constellation of symptoms.

Yet post-traumatic stress is thought to have played a role in only three of 10 suicides in the Canadian military last winter, according to a separate series of documents obtained by CP.

The military and the Harper government routinely underline the tens of millions of dollars in resources that have been poured into PTSD treatment and research. They're also quick to say the rate of military suicide is below the national average.

But underlying that is the extraordinarily high rate of depression within the ranks, estimated at approximately eight per cent in the last mental health survey.

The military's surgeon general, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier, told a Commons committee last year that the mental health of soldiers is an issue they're struggling to understand.

A lot more research is necessary, Bernier said.

"We haven't been able to pin it down to specific exposures in military life ... although there are all kinds of increased risk factors for depression because of military service."

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/soldiers-more-likely-to-have-experienced-childhood-abuse-study-1.2237375#ixzz3Rqxhh3DR

15
1.Mental Health Conversation

On 18 February Military Family Services is hosting a group discussion on both the challenges and potential opportunities in the area of mental health and social wellness education for military family members in Canada   The aim of this group discussion is to collectively assist MFS to examine both the current strengths and weaknesses of existing mental health and social wellness educational programming that is currently available to military families.   In the spirit of the new family panel concept, this meeting will serve as another way to ensure MFS mental health and social wellness programming remains responsive to the needs of military families, and remains coordinated and synchronised with partners who can help inform our work.

The following partner organizations have kindly agreed to participate in this meeting:
a.      COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Everyday);
b.      Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA);
c.      Caregiver's Brigade;
d.      Dr. Jay's Grief Program;
e.      Soldier On;
f.      Strongest Families;
g.      The Vanier Institute of the Family;
d.      Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS Canada); and
e.      Veterans Affairs Canada.


2. CMHA Webinar

On 25 February Canadian Mental Health Association is hosting a national webinar centred on the theme of military families that will allow MFS HQ to speak to CMHA field staff on the challenges inherent with the military family lifestyle.  Particular emphasis will be focussed on how CMHA staff can connect with Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) across Canada, and receive programming information that can help address the needs of military family members in their community.   LCol Suzanne Bailey will also be participating in the webinar, and will provide information on the mental health services currently available to CAF member.  LCol Bailey will also explain the R2MR program and the mental health education currently available for CAF members.

3. Mental Health Week

During Mental Health Week (4 - 8 May), MFS intends to publicly launch the following programs/initiatives:
a.      Public Service Announcement promoting mental health resources for military families.  Centred on the tag-line "You're Not Alone", this PSA will include military families, CAF service providers (MFS, Chaplain General, CF Health Service Group, and national partners (Canadian Mental Health Association, The Royal) delivering evidence-based mental health factoids that can be easily understood by any audience, and include important contact information, including the Family Force website and Family Information Line.  Subject PSAs will be made available to families via internal MFS communication channels (web-site, social media)
b.      VAC/MFS Caregiver Program -MFS and VAC are partnering to develop a program to educate family caregivers on the etiology and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress and other Operational Stress Injuries (OSI), enabling them to best support a family member through the treatment and recovery process as well as to teach the caregiver a practical self-care skillset, enabling caregivers to effectively cope with stressors associated with the caregiver role. The Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, leading experts in the treatment of OSI and the impact of OSI on families, have been contracted to develop the caregiver content and present it in an online e-learning program. The online program will be available for families of veterans and serving members by May, 2015.
c.      Zero-fund memorandum of understanding between MFS and CMHA that potentially promotes/advocates bi-lateral organizational support and/or the sharing of technical competencies and program expertise where feasible and mutually beneficial.

4. Strongest Families Pilot Project

A one-year pilot project is underway with three MFRCs (St. John's, Halifax, Kingston) and the Strongest Families Institute, a  psychologically-informed distance education program offering telephone-based parenting interventions to parents of children with behavioral, anxiety, or emotional problems. The program emphasizes early intervention through skill-building for cases of mild to moderate mental health problems.

5. Mental Health Working Group

MFS has committed to working with MFRCs to develop a short-term strategy to address the increasing mental health challenges facing military families.

Dave

David B. Millar
Lieutenant-General/Lieutenant-général
Chief of Military Personnel/Chef du personnel militaire

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 ... 124