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Ottawa moving too slowly on suicide-prevention strategy: veterans’ advocates

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Re: Ottawa moving too slowly on suicide-prevention strategy: veterans’ advocates

Post by Ex Member on Sun 13 Nov 2016, 10:35

We must put as much of the abuse as we can in the past to rest it is done. We can only control the situation going forward danny. We have been controlled our whole adult lives and some longer. It is time to take back control the past is gone ugly horrible and destructive for all of us lets focus on the future only then will any of us find peace.

Ex Member

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Re: Ottawa moving too slowly on suicide-prevention strategy: veterans’ advocates

Post by Dannypaj on Sun 13 Nov 2016, 07:56

I suffered alone for years fighting the very system that was supposed to be there to help me transition, but instead it left me for years in poverty and in misery amongst Canada's Criminals (working as a low paid Commissionaire "used and abused as a federal contract worker, BS way to keep you employed and impoverished,"  making the bare minimum and no "RISK PAY"  all while fighting  VAC/VRAB!!!!!!!!
Veterans and Risk Pay for the "decision makers" in the same sentence, odd that working with criminals Risk Pay is not allotted?
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 1152
Age : 41
Location : Halifax
Registration date : 2015-01-29

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Honour Our Veterans By Caring For Them Here At Home

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Nov 2016, 06:34

Honour Our Veterans By Caring For Them Here At Home

Spencer FernandoPosted: November 12th at 4:03pm


Winnipeg, MB – On Remembrance Day, we honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We remember those who were willing to lose their lives so our country could remain strong and free.But after Remembrance Day passes, the scars – both physical and mental – will remain for those who returned from war. That’s why it’s not just enough to honour the past; we must honour those who are still struggling with the consequences of war.We must give our veterans the support they need. And we clearly have work to do.158 Canadians Soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan. But since then, 70 Afghan War Veterans who returned home have committed suicide.Today in the Globe and Mail, a poem was submitted by the family of Master Corporal Charles Matiru. Master Corporal Matiru served with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, and later served with Joint Task Force X. He wrote the poem below, entitled Dark Shadow. On January 15, 2013, Master Corporal Matiru committed suicide.

Once again I see my shadow
He does not leave my side
Clinging to me at every turn
As before his taunts are unrelenting Mother prays he lets me be
My return will ease her worry
I keep my shadow at bay
Writing home that all is wellI am longing for high noon
My shadow will be no more
I have a job to do
The ominous shadow must be ignoredI venture into the city’s heart
My protection, cunning camouflage and gun
My shadow creeps an inch closer
He anticipates his chance to strikeMission complete: time for some reflection
Reliving those moments of extreme tension The young man on the motorbike
A suicide bomber, shadow’s willing conduitHe missed his chance this time
Yet he remains by my side
Not willing to give me up easily
Knowing more missions are to followWhy am I here I ponder
Dancing with my shadow once again
I realize I have no fear
I am numb to his derisionThe sun is shifting way above
High noon is approaching with haste
I see my shadow slowly shrinking
Home is beckoning my destiny awaitsNot every man evades his shadow
This theatre filled with such violence
Today another of ours has fallen
Man’s hatred toward man so senseless

Some worry action is being delayed

Criticism is mounting against a consultation committee set up by the current federal government to address the problem. Some are saying the committee is being used to delay needed reforms. The current system doesn’t even officially track veterans suicides, and won’t until 2017. This has been a shortcoming of many governments. There is always enthusiasm to publicize dramatic missions and new weapons purchases, but it seems less effort goes into the quiet – but lifesaving – work of caring for our Veterans when they come home. In fact, a recent statement by the Minister responsible for veterans on the work of his department didn’t even mention Veterans suicide.

No amount is too much to help our Veterans

There are certain times when money shouldn’t be an issue. Caring for our veterans is one of them. No amount of money is too much for our government to take care of our veterans and provide them the physical and mental health support they need. Nobody should ever put their life on their line for our country, only to be left to suffer alone when they come home. Words are important. But actions matter much more. To truly live up to the spirit of Remembrance Day, we must do what is necessary and spend whatever is necessary to save the lives of our Canadian Veterans. As we remember, let’s remember those who are still with us, and show that our hearts are with them. Lest We Forget.

-Spencer Fernando, MyToba News

Spencer Fernando is an insightful, independent-minded thinker. He has experience in the political system as a policy analyst, communicator, advisor, and campaign manager. Free to speak his mind, Spencer now shares his ideas to fix a system that he believes is broken. He believes our economy and government must serve the people, not just those at the top.


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Ottawa using consultations to delay action on suicide problem, veterans say

Post by Guest on Fri 11 Nov 2016, 06:34

Ottawa using consultations to delay action on suicide problem, veterans say

MONTREAL and TORONTO and CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 10:01PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016 10:02PM 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.

An information vacuum, bureaucratic intransigence and a lack of leadership are stalling action to combat a growing suicide problem, several former soldiers serving as mental health advisers to the Veterans Affairs Minister say.

After one year, the Trudeau government is using consultation as an excuse to delay reforming care for veterans, according to the retired soldiers, who were asked to advise Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr on how to improve care for such mental illnesses as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We want this committee to be used as originally intended, and that’s not crystal clear right now,” said Brian McKenna, a Vancouver-based veteran on the board. “It needs to be shown to us this committee is going to have some bite and it’s not just going to provide top-cover to this government to do nothing and be able to say, ‘Look, we consulted the veterans.’”

Research conducted by The Globe and Mail shows at least 70 soldiers who served in Afghanistan took their own lives after returning to Canada, including 14 who had left the Canadian Forces and would have been under the jurisdiction of Veterans Affairs. Not every veteran seeks help from the department, and a new system to track suicide will only report for the first time at the end of 2017.

Members of the committee say they have recommended that the government make it easier for veterans to access benefits and improve the process of transitioning to civilian life.

Some former and current soldiers on the group say a public inquiry into the suicides of soldiers and veterans may be needed. Advocates have been trying to get data on military suicides from the government for two years. Three of the advisers say an inquiry would bring out this information and may help spur action, but two others argue it would just cause delay or be seen as an excuse to stall.

Brian Harding, an Afghanistan veteran who does suicide-prevention work with former military members, said an inquiry could identify patterns and gaps in the system. “Each suicide is someone who did not receive the care they needed,” Mr. Harding said. “We need hard data in order to determine the exact scope of the problem.”

Mr. McKenna said an inquiry is not needed yet. “It’s a good way for lawyers to make money and gives the government the path to do nothing while the inquiry goes on.”

Most of the veterans on the board agreed they are being stonewalled in getting information from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Three of them say Mr. Hehr needs to take control from his senior bureaucrats.

Mr. Hehr responded in a statement stressing the work his department has done to improve early intervention and to ease transition out of the military for veterans with operational stress injuries.

“We have taken concrete steps but we must continue to do better,” he said. The advisory group and others “will augment my direction from the Prime Minister and I look forward to our continued constructive collaboration.

“I am proud of the work we have done over the past months but much more needs to be done. We are working hard to do better and value the input of advisory groups, veterans and Canadians.”

The statement did not mention suicide.

Afghanistan war veteran Aaron Bedard said he and other vets have been pushing Veterans Affairs for suicide data and analysis since a committee meeting in July, 2015, with then-minister Erin O’Toole. But they have yet to receive any detailed information from the federal government or the Canadian Forces.

“You [The Globe] did more for us than they have done in two years,” Mr. Bedard said.

A combat engineer, Mr. Bedard was diagnosed with PTSD and has struggled with suicidal thoughts. He does not think the Forces and Veterans Affairs take the suicide issue seriously enough. He said the mounting toll and The Globe’s stories of 31 Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide should spur immediate action.

“The stories should be lighting a fire under the bureaucracy and especially the elected officials that this needs to become a priority. You can’t allow the [Veterans] ministry and the Department of National Defence to keep kicking this can down the road. We need to start saving lives now,” Mr. Bedard said.

“As your research has reflected, there are some real flaws in the current system.”

Mr. McKenna called for an overhaul of the Veterans Affairs department, which is based in Prince Edward Island and, he said, is insulated from the scrutiny and the personnel turnover that keep other senior federal bureaucrats motivated and responsive. “It’s hard to imagine the people who designed this problem are going to be the ones to design the solution,” he said. “There needs to be a cull at the top.”

Glynne Hines, a retired major-general, was more optimistic, saying he believes the government is poised to act on suicide prevention this winter. “The next three or four months will tell,” he said. “Attention is being given to this by both (National Defence and Veterans Affairs) departments.”

He said Veterans Affairs overall “could do a better job trimming red tape” in all aspects of how it delivers services.

Retired general and psychiatrist Ruth Lanius said improved systems are needed to assist with the transition out of the military. Among the 31 cases The Globe examined in-depth, five were out of the military, three were scheduled for release and several knew their military careers were near an end.

“It’s personalized care, helping people to transition into civilian life, help for family members, taking a holistic approach is very important I think,” said Dr. Lanius, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Western Ontario.

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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Suicide numbers on the rise among Canadian veterans

Post by Guest on Sat 15 Oct 2016, 12:41

Suicide numbers on the rise among Canadian veterans.

October 14, 2016

Suicidal thoughts are a daily occurrence in a soldier’s mind that has post-traumatic stress disorder.

Each year, media outlets release the deaths of a soldiers who committed suicide. While citizens see what is on the news, the core problem is more complicated than described at the time of a soldier’s death.

In a report published by the Department of National Defense, there has been concerns expressed since the early 1990’s about the apparent suicide rate among Canadian Armed Forces members.

The report stated 93.3 per cent of the overall individuals had accessed a form of health care within the year prior to their death. Two-thirds of them accessed at least one type within 30 days prior to their death.

Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Corporal Scott Fleming said group lectures with soldiers fresh off of tour that are sent to a therapist accomplish nothing.

“Individuals must be approached by mental health professionals rather than be relied upon to seek help themselves,” said Cpl Fleming. “I know that after my transfer in the reserve/civil roll, I quickly became disgusted with the civilian population and hated the fact that I lost brothers who served such an ungrateful population.”

According to the 2015 report from the Department of the National Defense, more than half of suicides were product of hanging. While 26.7 per cent were committed with a firearm. 13.3 per cent were caused by asphyxiation and 6.7 per cent were accounted for by drugs.

However, according to The Globe and Mail investigation conducted in 2015, more than one-third of soldiers who died in Afghanistan have died by suicide in Canada. According the report, the total estimation for suicide deaths is 59 people compared to the 158 that died in combat.

Master Corporal Brian Eagle has never been on tour but said he has experience being a confidante to guys who have gone and come back from war.
“The high rate of suicides is very distressing,” said MCpl Eagle. “Certainly there should be more studies regarding this.”

Walter Callaghan was a second lieutenant, health care administrator with the Canadian Armed Forces during the war.
“I’ve lost way too many friends to suicide,” said Callaghan.  “My PTSD is because of a sense of guilt that I was not able to protect the soldiers that were under my command.”

He has had difficulty in the past fighting his own demons.

“I’ve had to step back from doing peer-support on a number of occasions because the emotional toll has become too much.”

The overall numbers are not an official record of the current problem in Canada, since the National Defense will not allow the full release of the current statistics.

Veteran suicides will claim more lives than combat did within three years-time at the current documented rate of veteran suicides in Canada.


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Ottawa moving too slowly on suicide-prevention strategy: veterans’ advocates

Post by Guest on Fri 07 Oct 2016, 05:18

Ottawa moving too slowly on suicide-prevention strategy: veterans’ advocates.

Oct. 06, 2016

Canada’s Veterans Affairs Minister says the government is working hard on a strategy to prevent military personnel and former soldiers from killing themselves, but veterans’ advocates are frustrated with the amount of time it is taking just to assess the scope of the problem.

Kent Hehr, the Calgary MP who was appointed nearly a year ago to head the long-troubled veterans department, emerged Thursday from a two-day, closed-door meeting with stakeholders to say the participants pointed out he had yet to complete many of the tasks on his mandate letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Among them is the development, in conjunction with the Department of National Defence, of a suicide-prevention strategy for veterans and current members of the forces. A continuing Globe and Mail investigation has found that at least 62 of the soldiers, sailors and aviators who were deployed to Afghanistan took their own lives after their deployment.

Mr. Hehr said his department is working closely with Defence to modernize the suicide-prevention policy and to ensure that the best practices are being followed. “We are moving along relatively quickly,” he told reporters. “I am pleased at the progress we have made. In particular over the summer, a lot of heavy lifting has been done.”

But the pace is not fast enough for veterans advocates who say lives are at risk and the government has been too slow to obtain the data that would reveal the scope of the problem.

Veterans Affairs said last December that it would start to release annual reports on the suicides of former members – a gap in knowledge that was highlighted by The Globe’s investigation – but would not do so until December, 2017.

There was a lot of talk at the two-day meeting about suicide, said Aaron Bedard, an Afghanistan veteran who is part of a class-action lawsuit alleging that modern-day soldiers who are disabled in the line of duty are not treated as well as those who fought in the world wars and Korea.

“We’ve been pushing for a year and a half for suicide data,” said Mr. Bedard. “We want to know where, when and why people commit suicide after they serve, and how soon after they have left the military it’s happening. We want to see the trends, we want to see the regions. We want to get a sense of areas where there might be a hot pocket of suicides. And we want to know why. What’s working, what’s not?”

Frustrated with being told that it will be more than a year before the government releases numbers, Mr. Bedard posted his own survey Thursday to his Veteran Guerrilla Radio Facebook page, a public discussion forum for ex-military members. It asks the public to tell what they know about veterans’ suicides. Within a couple of hours, he had 17 responses.

The aim, said Mr. Bedard, is to expose trends – to determine whether the release process is contributing to suicides or if the interaction with Veterans Affairs, especially on issues of mental health, has been too adversarial.

The Veterans Affairs department says it is moving as quickly as possible to gather the information about suicides but it is depending on Statistics Canada to link its data about mortality with release information from the Canadian Armed Forces. All parties are expending considerable effort to ensure that the numbers are accurate and complete, said a Veterans Affairs spokesman in an e-mail.

Mike Blais, the founder of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, who also attended the meeting, said there are good people working in an advocacy group established to advise the Veterans Affairs Minister about mental health and suicide, but they have not been provided with the time or the resources they need to do the job.

“We have asked for the numbers of veterans who have committed suicide. There are none,” said Mr. Blais. “There’s a lot we can do to prevent suicide, but unless we have that knowledge, unless we bring in the doctors and the people who are pros to discuss this and come up with effective solutions, it’s going to continue. The scourge will never stop.”


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