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Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

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'We can't go back,' says doctor at hospital linked to veteran in murder-suicide

Post by Guest on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 18:34

'We can't go back,' says doctor at hospital linked to veteran in murder-suicide

Dr. Maureen Allen says rural hospitals struggling to help people with mental health crises
By Elizabeth McMillan, CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2017 2:42 PM AT Last Updated: Jan 06, 2017 3:21 PM AT

Family members say Lionel Desmond was turned away from Saint Martha's hospital.

An emergency room doctor at the hospital accused of turning away a Canadian Forces veteran the day before he killed himself and his family, says hospitals in rural Nova Scotia are desperate for more mental health services.

Dr. Maureen Allen, who works at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S., was not involved in Lionel Desmond's case and can't discuss specifics of what happened with him at the facility.

But she says she welcomes the investigation announced Thursday by Nova Scotia Health Minister Leo Glavine into what contact Desmond had with the provincial health-care system.

"We can't go back. I know that every one of us would like to go back and change this outcome but we can't," Allen said in an interview. "So how do we find the strength within ourselves to move forward, but also to help this family move forward. It needs to be looked at very carefully."

Family found dead

Shanna Desmond, 31, Brenda Desmond, 52, and 10-year-old Aaliyah Desmond were found dead in their Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., home Tuesday night. Lionel Desmond shot them before taking his own life, RCMP confirmed Friday.  

Dr. Maureen Allen is an emergency room physician at St. Martha's Regional Hospital in Antigonish, N.S.

Family members have said Lionel Desmond had post-traumatic stress disorder related to a tour in Afghanistan. He was released from the military in 2015 and spent time at a Montreal clinic.

Family members say he sought mental health help at St. Martha's before the killings. One member says he was turned away because there were no beds, another says it was because they didn't have his file.

The Health Department and Nova Scotia Health Authority "are gathering information internally so we have a better understanding of what may or may not have happened," Health Minister Leo Glavine said in a statement issued Friday.

'Need much greater than I can provide'

Glavine said he's working with Dr. Linda Courey, the health authority's senior director of health and addictions, but they are "bound by privacy legislation and cannot provide personal details."

Allen said emergency rooms like the one she works in "are inundated" with people struggling with mental health and addictions issues, particularly on weekends and during the evening hours.

"I'm a physician who is trained to do emergencies, who is trained to sit with patients, but the kind of care these patients need is much greater than I can provide for them," she said.

"There's no question there needs to be some sort of flexibility and change within the system. Patients who come to us after hours and on weekends are really at the disposal of the resources of the emergency department."

Shanna Desmond and her daughter were among four of the people killed in the murder-suicide at a home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.

Assessing people in crisis

St. Martha's mental health crisis worker only is accessible 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Allen said. Psychiatrists on staff are on call after hours, but she said it often falls to emergency room physicians who are "pulled in many directions" and family physicians to assess a distressed person's mental state.

There are specific screening processes for people who have visited the emergency rooms several times, but it can be harder to determine the extent of a mental health crisis during a patient's first visit, Allen said.

Physicians must evaluate whether a patient is a danger to themselves or others. This may involve talking to a person's family and assessing if a patient is capable of making decisions related to their own care.

"You can screen out all of that and still have a terrible outcome. So how can we change that screening?" she said.

Preventing future deaths

Screening takes time and sitting down to talk in the "very chaotic and unpredictable" environment of an emergency room is often not the best option for a patient, Allen said.

Under an amalgamated provincial health authority, Allen said the Antigonish hospital no longer has a dedicated "pocket of money" to allocate for specific services, such as more mental health care.

In September, Lionel Desmond posted a Facebook video of himself doing the 22 pushup challenge, an initiative to raise awareness about PTSD.

Instead, she said it's now competing with needs from across the province.

"You feel like you've been forgotten, that we have no voice, that we're losing our autonomy," she said

Allen calls the volume of patients she sees from Pictou to Inverness as the "canary in the coal mine" of the health-care system — setting off alarms that people with mental health and addictions issues are not getting access to the treatment they need.

"From my perspective there are many examples in health care where we've let families and patients down, that we need to be able to step back and say how can we prevent this in the future and how can we learn from this process?"


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Veterans Affairs standing by level of support it provides former soldiers

Post by Guest on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 06:23

Veterans Affairs standing by level of support it provides former soldiers

Posted Jan 6, 2017 5:25 pm EST Last Updated Jan 6, 2017 at 6:40 pm EST

OTTAWA – Canada’s Veterans Affairs Department is standing by the support and assistance it provides to former soldiers in distress — a subject of controversy in the wake of a murder-suicide involving a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.

RCMP confirmed Friday that Lionel Desmond shot his wife, their 10-year-old daughter and his mother before turning the gun on himself in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S. The four bodies were discovered Tuesday.

Family members say Desmond, who was released from the military in July 2015, was diagnosed with PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan in 2007. Veterans Affairs has said it cannot comment on the case, citing privacy laws.

But officials say veterans who need immediate help can use a toll-free number to speak to a clinician about their troubles and determine what assistance is needed. The line, staffed around the clock, received more than 1,100 calls in 2015-16.

“Anyone in the country, or any family member, can call,” Veterans Affairs chief psychiatrist Dr. Alexandra Heder told The Canadian Press in an interview.

“Every clinician across Canada who has a job like this on a help line, they are trained to do that kind of assessment first and then take steps if needed.”

For non-emergencies, the clinician can make an appointment with the veteran’s case manager, one of Veterans Affairs Canada’s many operational stress injury clinics, or one of 4,000 private mental-health providers registered with the department. Appointments take three to five business days.

If the veteran is in crisis, they will be contacted within 24 hours for an appointment. If there is a threat to the veteran or their family, local authorities are contacted.

“If the clinician determined that there was an immediate risk for the person, they could call the police, they could call 911 for ambulance services,” said Dr. Cyd Courchesne, the department’s chief medical officer.

“It’s dependent on the situation, but that always remains the option.”

That isn’t good enough, said Peter Stoffer, a former NDP MP and longtime advocate for veterans, who noted family members said Desmond was turned away prior to the shooting after trying to get help at a local hospital.

“If you call 911, what are they going to tell you?” asked Stoffer. “They’re going to come to you and take you somewhere. But if somewhere is full, what do you do then?”

Stoffer said additional measures need to be put in place, such as making it easier for vets to contact case managers, which is what a House of Commons committee recommended last month.

He said hospitals should routinely ask if someone has served with the military, and the department should establish better contacts with hospitals and other local health facilities to ensure veterans in distress aren’t turned away.

“Somebody in the hospital could have called the various numbers for him, and then seek out the assistance that he required,” Stoffer said.

“If it’s not necessarily in that area, then there should have been some availability for him somewhere. And you would have assumed by identifying him as a veteran, that they would have immediately called the appropriate numbers and assist him in that way.”

University of Victoria associate professor Tim Black, a registered psychologist who works with veterans and their families, said he agrees there’s a need for better screening of veterans at hospitals and co-ordination between the department and hospitals.

But he said many people with mental illness are turned away when they seek help from local hospitals, with veterans serving as canaries in the coal mine in terms of highlighting the system’s shortfalls.

“These things happen in the civilian world all the time,” he said.

“As a psychologist, you can refer someone to the emergency room. That doesn’t mean they’re going to get help. They might be seen, but then they might be sent back home. I think it’s more an unfortunate commentary on the Canadian focus on mental health.”


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Family of murder-suicide victims say Veterans Affairs should pay for funerals

Post by Guest on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 06:18

Family of murder-suicide victims say Veterans Affairs should pay for funerals

CTV Atlantic
Published Friday, January 6, 2017 7:14PM AST

There are questions over who is going to pay for the funerals for the four people who were found dead Tuesday night in Upper Big Tracadie, Nova Scotia.
On Friday, the RCMP confirmed the multiple shooting was a triple murder-suicide. Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot his wife, daughter and mother before turning the gun on himself.
While the family maintains the murder-suicide is a direct result of PTSD, the RCMP won't say what role, if any, it's playing in their investigation.

Afghan war veteran Lionel Desmond shot his wife, daughter and mother before turning the gun on himself.

“This is a very unique case, and a lot of people have said for Nova Scotia, but it's a very unique and tragic and very disturbing case for anywhere, for anyone to encounter,” says NS RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke.

As the investigation continues, the reality is setting in that one family is left to plan four funerals at the same time.
“With this big tragedy like this here, taking out your whole family, three generations. Your mother, your daughter and yourself,” says Shanna Desmond's Aunt Catherine Hartling.“I think it should be covered then.”

There are concerns about the role Veterans Affairs Canada will play in the funeral services.
“They're fully willing to cover the veteran, which would be Lionel Desmond,” says Shanna Desmond's brother Sheldon Borden. ”But they're not taking any responsibility for the other deaths in the household.”

Veterans Affairs won't comment on a specific case, but says the loss of any Canadian to violence impacts the nationas a whole.

In a statement to CTV News, Marc Lescoutre of Veterans Affairs Canada says: “Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to remembering the service and sacrifice of those who have served.”

The statement goes on to say: “Funeral and burial assistance is provided to veterans who die of a service-related injury or illness."
Veterans advocate Peter Stoffer says Veterans Affairs should help the family however possible.

“Sometimes you have to throw the book away and do what is the compassionate thing and the humanitarian thing in this issue,” says Stoffer. “What is the Canadian thing to do? I think the government should easily say, look in this circumstance, we'll look after the services of all four.”

A crowdfunding campaign has also started raising money for the Desmond family. As of 6:00pm Friday, it had raised more than $11,000 in less than 24 hours.


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Veterans' support groups on P.E.I. see spike in calls

Post by Guest on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 06:07

Veterans' support groups on P.E.I. see spike in calls

CBCJanuary 6, 2017

Veterans' support groups on P.E.I. see spike in calls

CBCJanuary 6, 2017

The tragedy in Nova Scotia has caused a spike in calls to veteran support groups on P.E.I. and has added a new sense of urgency for Island veterans seeking help for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"We are busy these days. A lot of people are shaken up," said Dennis MacKenzie, the volunteer in charge of one Charlottetown support group.

"This should never happen. We have programs that are in place and will work if people get the proper help when they need it," said MacKenzie.

MacKenzie and one veteran exchanged hugs in the Charlottetown office of Marijuana for Trauma. It is a non-profit group that, among other programs, helps veterans obtain prescriptions for medical marijuana.

Other veteran support groups on P.E.I., including government-run programs are busy, too, say organizers.

According to one estimate, over half of all military veterans living on PEI, are receiving some sort of counselling or support.

MacKenzie is an Afghanistan veteran. He says there's still a stigma around PTSD.

"I didn't speak about my PTSD until after I was released from the military," said MacKenzie. "It's such a stigma, you don't want people to know. So it's about breaking that stigma and saying yes, I need help."


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N.S. murder-suicide a painful reminder of plight for ex-soldiers affected by PTSD

Post by Guest on Sat 07 Jan 2017, 06:02

N.S. murder-suicide a painful reminder of plight for ex-soldiers affected by PTSD

Former Canadian soldier Greg Matters served in Bosnia during the war and also suffered from PTSD. He was killed in a standoff with RCMP officers in 2012.

N.S. murder-suicide a painful reminder of plight for ex-soldiers affected by PTSD

Dene Moore
National Affairs Contributor
January 6, 2017

Former Canadian soldier Greg Matters served in Bosnia during the war and also suffered from PTSD. He was killed in a standoff with RCMP officers in 2012.View photos
Former Canadian soldier Greg Matters served in Bosnia during the war and also suffered from PTSD. He was killed in a standoff with RCMP officers in 2012.
The murder-suicide of a former Canadian soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and his family has brought back painful memories and lingering frustrations for Tracey Matters.

Five years ago, her brother Greg, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD, was shot and killed in a confrontation with RCMP in British Columbia.

The deaths of Lionel Desmond, his wife Shanna, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, and his mother Brenda this week is something that will undoubtedly haunt their loved ones, she says.

“It’s still a struggle every day,” Matters tells Yahoo Canada News. “I think about Greg 100 times a day and I miss him terribly.”

Despite a rising tide of PTSD, also called Operational Stress Injury, there is still a long way to go to providing the support sufferers need, she says.

Her brother received a medical discharged from the Canadian Forces in 2009 after 15 years that included service in Bosnia. Already diagnosed with PTSD, Greg, 40, did not tell his family about his struggles, Matters says.

“He kept it a secret… it was only after a period of time that he said he’d been medically discharged,” she says.

It was Greg’s family that had to find a doctor and psychiatrist to treat him. The improvement was immediate, she says, but then came the September 2012 confrontation with RCMP at the rural home he shared with his mother near Prince George, B.C.

An RCMP emergency response team was deployed to arrest Greg for assaulting his brother, dressed in fatigues and armed with semi-automatic weapons.

RCMP say he was armed with a hatchet and approaching an officer when he was shot twice in the back with an M16.

A coroner’s jury made nine recommendations, most of them aimed at RCMP training. They also recommended improved monitoring by the Canadian Forces of the “physical, emotional and financial health” of military members, including after discharge.

And the jury recommended support and education on PTSD for loved ones of military members.

But Tracey Matters says it seems that support still falls short.

“I don’t know if anyone has taken notice,” she says.

There is a stigma attached to PTSD that prevents sufferers from getting help, she says.

“Not everyone with PTSD is suicidal. PTSD doesn’t mean you’re a dangerous person,” Matters says. “It is an injury, it’s not a mental illness. It can be treated and people can be supported to get through this terrible time in their life.”

Lionel Desmond, a former member of the 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment based in Gagetown, N.B., left the military 18 months ago, already suffering from PTSD. He served in Afghanistan in 2007.

In Desmond’s case, the province has announced an investigation into services provided by the provincial health care system. Neither the Canadian Forces nor Veterans Affairs, which operate 10 operational stress injury clinics across the country, have committed to an investigation of his case.

An investigation by the Globe and Mail last year found that at least 72 Canadian veterans of the war in Afghanistan have died by suicide.

Tracey Matters expects the number of Afghanistan war veterans with PTSD will continue to grow.

She encourages family members to be assertive advocates, research the illness and be dogged in finding the right treatment and support.

“They need the right program, they need the right support and they need 24-hour access to some kind of crisis service and so do their families,” she says.

She blames RCMP for his death.

“The way the police handled the situation was absolutely appalling,” she says.

The Civilian Review and Complaints Commission for the RCMP completed an investigation into Greg’s death in October 2015. The report and its recommendations were turned over to the RCMP commissioner for a response.

The complaints commission continues to await that response and the report has not been released publicly.

“That’s a long time to wait so we still have lots of questions,” Matters says.

Greg’s mother, Lorraine Matter, has also filed a civil lawsuit against RCMP. Her brother’s death led Tracey to join an organization in Australia, Legacy, that provides support for the families of veterans.


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More deaths coming from PTSD if no help, former P.E.I. soldier warns

Post by Guest on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 17:35

More deaths coming from PTSD if no help, former P.E.I. soldier warns

Former P.E.I. soldier and president of Marijuana for Trauma P.E.I. remembers Lionel Desmond, shares concerns over services for veterans with PTSD

Published on January 6, 2017

Former soldier Dennis MacKenzie, now the president of the P.E.I. chapter of Marijuana for Trauma, trained and served with Lionel Desmond in the military. He says more help is needed for soldiers and veterans with PTSD.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – A former soldier who trained and served with Lionel Desmond in the Canadian Armed Forces says he believes more veterans will take their own lives if more help is not offered to veterans with PTSD.

Dennis MacKenzie of P.E.I. went through training with Desmond in Meaford, Ont., and the two were later posted to the same unit at CFB Gagetown and served on the same tour in Afghanistan in 2007.

MacKenzie remembers Desmond as kind, caring and funny.

“Definitely not the monster that people are thinking right now,” MacKenzie told The Guardian Thursday.

“He was genuinely one of the most sincere people I’ve ever met in my life.”

Desmond, a military veteran, was found dead in his home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., Tuesday evening after an apparent murder-suicide. His wife, 10-year-old daughter and mother were also found dead inside the home from gunshot wounds. RCMP have said it appeared the 33-year-old Desmond “took his own life” inside the home.

MacKenzie says he is devastated over this tragedy, especially after reading reports from family members that Desmond had been seeking help for PTSD.

“I’m pretty crushed. My heart is broken,” MacKenzie said.

“This should never happen. There’s no excuse. There’s no reason for this to ever happen.”

MacKenzie himself suffers from PTSD but has found healing in medical marijuana and peer support and has been working to help fellow veterans find new pathways to healing.

This summer, he opened the first Prince Edward Island chapter of Marijuana for Trauma, an organization that provides support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

MacKenzie now has over 200 clients. Some have told him they are simply not getting the support they need from Veterans Affairs or from the military for their illness.

“I’m still hearing from people today being told by their chains of command that PTSD isn’t real, that this is just imaginary, that you suck it up, you move on. This is being told to them by superiors today,” MacKenzie said.

“There is help for them, but they don’t know it’s there.”

He believes veteran-run groups like his and other non-profits are offering better services for vets with PTSD.

But they are running into some roadblocks.

In November, Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr announced a cut to the amount of medical marijuana provided to veterans from 10 grams to three grams a day, citing ballooning costs and concerns raised by the federal auditor general.

This cut will become effective May 21, 2017.

MacKenzie says there is no doubt in his mind this change will mean more veteran suicides.

“It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when’ the first suicide happens because of this decision. It’s going to happen,” MacKenzie said.

“The government is going to have blood on their hands for this.”

He says he hopes those who may be suffering with PTSD will reach out for help, but he continues to believe the government is not doing enough for soldiers and veterans who are ill.

“When do we have to stop proving how sick we are in order to get the help that we’re entitled to?”

In a statement to The Guardian, a spokesman for the Department of National Defense said significant investment and commitment has been made to ensure active Canadian Armed Forces members have the education and awareness programs required to help identify people at risk for mental health problems and to provide them with assistance.

“Caring for our members is a top priority. While significant progress has been achieved in the area of mental health in recent years, we know more needs to be done and strive to continuously improve our programs,” said Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations for National Defense.

“The institution will continue to work hard to reduce the stigma associated with seeking help and mental illness.”

A spokesperson for Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) stated Thursday the department is also committed to ensuring veterans, Royal Canadian Mounted Police and their families have mental health support when they need it.

VAC has a national network of around 4,000 mental health professionals who deliver mental health services to veterans and serving and released RCMP officers with post-traumatic stress disorder and other operational stress injuries.

Services include a network of 11 operational stress injury clinics, as well as a 24-hour toll-free help line, short-term face-to-face mental health counselling and referral services.

In Nova Scotia this past June, VAC and the Nova Scotia Health Authority opened the Nova Scotia Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Dartmouth, which provides full assessment, diagnosis and treatment services for veterans, members of the Canadian Armed Forces, current and former members of the RCMP and their families.


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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

Post by Teentitan on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 13:14

Wow great PSA by our "somewhat" Honorable Minister. He brings up the mandate letter, as usual, but doesn't say a word about the Wellness Centre's? Shame

For those who don't know the 24/7 phone number he talks about does exist. What he said that was wrong it is NOT a dedicated crisis number for military and vets. The call centre is owned and operated under the Health Canada department. In other words it's a process center without proper training on how to deal with veterans/soldiers with PTSD and suicidal thoughts. Some of their operators have been known to hang up on callers because they get scared, can't handle a distressed vet/soldier screaming for help, are so damn confused they hang up and hope it goes away.

Now if VAC created it's OWN health crisis phone number the operators could be trained to handle vets/soldiers with PTSD. Imagine if this phone number existed? A vet/soldier in distress calls and if the operator feels the caller is going to cause harm one push of the button and there is a direct connection to the RCMP, OPP, QPP to get to the vet/soldiers location.

Who thinks this would be a better crisis line to call then the one we have now?
CSAT Member

Number of posts : 3314
Location : ontario
Registration date : 2008-09-19

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Caring for veterans with mental illness

Post by Guest on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 12:40

Caring for veterans with mental illness

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr discusses how the government helps veterans struggling with mental illness.


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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

Post by Teentitan on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 11:21

I'm somewhat surprised that not one person, on what I have seen and read, has not mentioned one of the points in Herr's Mandate Letter.....creating 2 Wellness Centre's!!

Where is the info on the progress of the when and where?

This incident was more then a vet with PTSD taking his own life he took live's before his! Get off your arse Trudeau and start the Wellness Centre's to give vets hope.

This vet was turned away from a hospital. Imagine if he had info on contacting a Wellness Centre meant ONLY for military and vets? He just might be alive well as a daughter and wife. Shame on the Government.
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Number of posts : 3314
Location : ontario
Registration date : 2008-09-19

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Canadian Forces won’t commit to probing support of veteran in apparent murder-suicide

Post by Guest on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 06:32

Canadian Forces won’t commit to probing support of veteran in apparent murder-suicide

TORONTO and UPPER BIG TRACADIE, N.S. — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 05, 2017 12:37PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 05, 2017 11:54PM EST

The Canadian Forces wouldn’t commit Thursday to examining how it handled an Afghanistan war veteran suspected of killing his family and then himself, as Nova Scotia began investigating how the province’s medical system dealt with the mentally ill soldier.

Lionel Desmond, who was an infantryman with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment in Gagetown, N.B., was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder when he was released from the army 18 months ago. Relatives said his deployment to Afghanistan in 2007 left an indelible mark on the husband and father and he struggled to control his anger and overcome nightmares and flashbacks.

His deteriorating mental state was taking a toll on his marriage to nurse Shanna Desmond, her sister, Shonda Borden, said Thursday. Gunshots erupted Tuesday inside the couple’s modest home in the rural community of Upper Big Tracadie in northeastern Nova Scotia.

When the gunfire stopped, four people lay dead: Mr. Desmond’s wife, their 10-year-old daughter, Aaliyah, his mother, Brenda Desmond, and Mr. Desmond, whom police suspect shot himself.

Autopsies are being done to confirm the cause of the deaths.

The apparent triple murder-suicide has shocked the country and the military community. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said the “unspeakable loss” has prompted the provincial government to investigate what health services were offered to the former corporal and whether protocols were followed. But Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and the Canadian Forces would not say whether a board of inquiry will be held to examine what medical care and support was offered to the ailing soldier by the military’s health system.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s press secretary, Cameron Ahmad, deferred questions about an inquiry to Veterans Affairs. The department and Minister Kent Hehr’s press secretary did not respond Thursday to questions on whether Veterans Affairs will hold a review.

While boards of inquiry are conducted in the suicides of active-duty soldiers, reviews are not mandatory when veterans die. The National Defence Act, however, gives the defence minister the authority to order an inquiry into such a tragedy.

“Given the RCMP’s investigation is ongoing and that this tragic situation just occurred, it would be premature to discuss such matters at this time,” Canadian Forces spokesman Daniel Lebouthillier said in an e-mail. “We must let the RCMP’s investigative process unfold.”

Military Ombudsman Gary Walbourne said that, at the “absolute minimum,” Veterans Affairs should do a full file review to examine its interactions with Mr. Desmond. He noted a review may uncover gaps that could help other vulnerable soldiers and veterans.

NDP Veterans Affairs critic Irene Mathyssen said she would support a review, if it’s backed by the family. Mr. Desmond is among at least 72 Canadian soldiers and veterans who have taken their lives after deploying on the Afghanistan mission, a continuing Globe and Mail investigation has found.

“We need to know what is going on with our veterans so that we can make sure that the services are there. And in this case, something went wrong. Something terrible went wrong,” said Ms. Mathyssen, who is a member of the all-party Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, which is currently examining mental health and suicide prevention.

Relatives said Mr. Desmond, 33, sought medical care just days before the tragedy. On New Year’s Day, he checked himself into St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in the nearby town of Antigonish because of his frayed mental state, said Catherine Hartling, an aunt of Shanna Desmond.

He was apparently told that he couldn’t be treated until the hospital had his medical records. After sleeping on a cot overnight, he left in the morning, Ms. Hartling said.

“They should have made sure Lionel never left the hospital,” she said. “Why would they let the man leave the hospital? They said if he needs help, get back in touch with the hospital. What kind of bullshit is that?”

Mr. Desmond’s sister-in-law, Shonda Borden, said he was desperate for help. The shootings occurred the day after he left St. Martha’s hospital.

“He constantly had voices in his head. He constantly had replays of what happened in Afghanistan,” said Ms. Borden, who flew in from Regina to be with family at her mother’s house, next door to the Desmond home. “He just wanted peace. That’s all he wanted.”

Inside her mother’s home, a small group of family and friends gathered Thursday to share their grief. They huddled in the kitchen as the television played. In Upper Big Tracadie, many families have been here for generations.

“The community is one big family – from the Bordens to the Desmonds to the Lawrences, the Jones – we’re all one big family. So we always had each other’s back, no matter what. So this is going to affect the community majorly. It just kills,” Ms. Borden said.

Mr. Desmond talked with his sister-in-law about his struggles with PTSD. He told her grim details about picking up dead bodies and detached heads while in Afghanistan.

Ms. Borden said she spoke to her sister, Shanna, the day she was killed on Jan. 3. Her sister felt frustrated lately in her relationship with Mr. Desmond. At the time of the shooting, the couple was spending time apart because of fighting and Mr. Desmond’s frequent outbursts, Ms. Borden said. He was staying at his grandparents in nearby Lincolnville, about 10 minutes up the road.

“He was never violent towards her [Shanna] or to his daughter, Aaliyah. He would go outside and throw things, but never towards them, ever,” his sister-in-law said.

Ms. Borden said Mr. Desmond suffered from horrible dreams and once, in the middle of the night, tried to choke his wife.

“He thought he was in Afghanistan and she calmed him down,” Ms. Borden recollected. “We all knew that he needed help and we all tried to give him help, but what are we really going to do? That’s for the military and the health-care [system] to do,” she added. “He’s a victim. They all are victims.”

Mr. Desmond was talking to a “psych” doctor in Halifax, Ms. Borden said. He had previously spent time in a rehabilitation facility in Montreal, according to relatives. The Canadian Forces and Veterans Affairs won’t comment on what treatment was offered to Mr. Desmond due to privacy reasons.

Ms. Borden is frustrated that no one in the military has contacted her yet about the shootings. “I haven’t heard a thing,” she said tearfully. On Twitter, the Prime Minister expressed condolences to the family and community.

Mr. Desmond talked about his health struggles on his Facebook page. The Afghanistan war veteran said he’d been told he had post-concussion disorder as well as PTSD.

In a Dec. 3 post – one month before the shootings – he wrote that: “I’m truly sorry for freaking out at my wife/daughter and people who know me … I’m not getting a lawyer. I’m getting my life back.”

He added: “I apologize for anything out [of] my control. I will fix it. If not, I’ll live with it.”


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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

Post by THECRANKYSAPPER on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 20:14

My heart goes out to his family and friends.

My best friend Cpl Sean McClintock committed PTSD related suicide Feb 2 2016, never made the news, he just is not here any in peace brother

If I could talk to him one more time I would tell him he just passed his pain on to all of us that cared for him and loved him, he just couldn't reach out anymore for help

I contacted the minister of Veterans Affairs twice in regard to this issue and all Veterans and only after a few weeks did I even get a reply and not even from him, the rage and helplessness I feel is massive

I don't want to hijack this thread, but the deja vu is strong, we lost 3 Combat Engineers last year that I am aware of and I just feel sick

Again my thoughts are with the family concerned and with you all.

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Help slow for injured vets

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 16:09

Help slow for injured vets
The Canadian Press - Jan 5, 2017 / 12:15 pm

Photo: Canadian Forces

Veterans Affairs has been struggling to process requests for assistance from ill and injured ex-soldiers in a timely manner, with many having to wait more than four months to find out if they qualify.

Internal documents obtained by The Canadian Press show only about half of veterans who applied for disability benefits between April and July last year received a decision within 16 weeks.

Officials say the department has since sped up processing times, but it is still falling short of its own targets and leaving hundreds of ill and injured veterans, including many with mental health injuries, in limbo for months on end.

The revelation raises fresh questions about the department following the shooting deaths of four people in Nova Scotia this week, including the apparent suicide of a veteran from Canada's war in Afghanistan.

Family members say retired corporal Lionel Desmond had been seeking treatment for PTSD following his release from the military in July 2015, without success.

Veterans Affairs has refused to comment on the case, citing privacy laws.


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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 12:52

yaaa really want to say a lot but I know I should not . didn't know him well but he seemed like one of the good ones . far to many emotions . not just for this loss but the losses of the past and future that I know to a large degree CAN be prevented with appropriate actions that can be implemented tomorrow .

but that will cost money .

and here we are .

what is a life worth ?

I say its priceless .

the GOC seems to defiantly have a cost value on it .

what do you think?

my heartfelt condolences to the families effected .




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At least 54 Canadian military members have committed suicide since 2014

Post by Guest on Thu 05 Jan 2017, 06:07

CANADA January 4, 2017 1:53 pm Updated: January 4, 2017 5:49 pm

At least 54 Canadian military members have committed suicide since 2014

By Nicole Bogart

At least 54 Canadian military members have committed suicide since 2014, though experts warn that number may be higher due to a lack of reporting.

Fifteen military members took their lives in 2016, according to the Tema Conter Memorial Trust, an organization which tracks suicides among firefighters, police officers, paramedics, correctional officers and other first responders.

Now, just days into 2017, another member of the Canadian Forces has taken his.

On Tuesday, four people were found dead in a Nova Scotia home; the victims were identified as 33-year-old military veteran Lionel Desmond, his wife Shanna Desmond, 31, their 10-year-old daughter, Aliyah, and his mother, Brenda, 52.

Desmond was a member of the Canadian Forces and had recently served in Afghanistan, Catherine Hartline, Shanna Desmond’s aunt told Global News. After returning to Canada, he had sought treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

“He didn’t get the help. He should have had the professional help he needed and it was not done right away. When the man showed the signs he should have been put somewhere to have a full recovery,” Hartline said.

RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in a release that Lionel Desmond’s wounds “appear to be self-inflicted,” and that an autopsy will be done by the Medical Examiner to determine the exact cause of death.

Clarke added that investigators found two firearms at the home, and continue to search the scene.

“I would have never, ever thought this would happen. He showed signs of acting out but he didn’t seem violent,” she said. “It’s heart wrenching.”

Tema Counter Memorial Trust Director Vince Savoia said while the organization’s numbers from 2014 and 2015 are accurate, thanks to the military’s reporting of suicide, the number of suicides reported in 2016 are based on media reports and cases that have been flagged to the organization.

According to Tema’s data, 17 military members died by suicide in 2015 and another 22 in 2014.

The Canadian Armed Forces directed Global News to its own suicide data, which varied slightly from Tema’s. According to the Canadian Forces, 13 regular force and 3 reserve force died by suicide in 2016, 15 regular force and 3 reserve force in 2015 and another 17 regular force and 4 reserve force in 2014.

“There may be more,” Savoia noted. “When it comes to PTSD, [the military] estimates no more than five per cent of their members will be diagnosed. In the Canadian population we are looking at a rate of 8 per cent – so I sometimes question the numbers.”

In 2015, the Canadian Forces published a study tracking suicide rates among male Regular Force members of Canada’s military from 1995 to 2014. The study found members of the army were 3.4 times more likely to kill themselves than non-army members of Canada’s Armed Forces and at least 50 per cent more likely to kill themselves than the average Canadian of the same gender and age.

The report found there was no “statistically significant increases in suicide rates” in regular force male members when compared to male suicide rates in the general population.

In August, a Globe and Mail investigation found that at least 70 soldiers and veterans had killed themselves after serving in the Afghanistan War. The number came from email records created by the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces in 2014 in response to questions from The Globe. Neither organization would release an official suicide count.

Savoia, who sought treatment for PTSD after his career as a paramedic, noted that Canadian military members are still very reluctant to come forward and report mental health struggles.

“They are still plagued by the stigma that it’s weak to ask for help,” he said. “The ones that do ask for help don’t necessarily receive the care and help that’s provided.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911. 911 can send immediate help. The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone all offer ways for getting help if you, or someone you know, is suffering from mental health issues.


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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

Post by red510 on Wed 04 Jan 2017, 18:30

Heartbreaking story. I wonder if mefloquine was also a factor in this tragedy?

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Re: Vet with PTSD from Afgan, kills 3 family members and himself

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