Such another suicide caused by Fat Boy Hehr and his band of misfits, there should be charges laid against someone for contributing to the death of Private Greene. VAC keeps rolling with the same tired excuse which is all lies, because if they would have been helping instead of the BS they were doing a veteran and a mother would be alive today. Shame on Hehr for being part of the problem rather then part of the solution.
- CSAT Member
- Number of posts : 262
Location : Vancouver Island
Registration date : 2012-11-14
Why did we fail Leah Greene?
AUGUST 18, 2017
Leah Greene deserved a better fate.
The Canadian army private served her country. Her country let her down when she desperately needed help.
Her last years were spent in a cruel spiral, clouded with physical, mental and financial stress and with alcoholism.
While Veterans Affairs Canada will not comment on specific cases, spokesman Marc Lescoutre told The Chronicle Herald’s Fram Dinshaw this week that caring for veterans and their families is top priority for the department.
“The department continues to take substantial steps to improve the health, well-being and financial security of Canadian veterans and their families,” Mr. Lescoutre said in an email this week.
He also pointed out that veterans and their families can now access new education and caregiver benefits, a new well-being and emergency fund and expanded access to Military Family Resource Centres.
Those are all admirable programs and services. But somewhere the system failed and did not provide Ms. Greene the help and services she needed to manage with her injury and her health and housing problems.
So a list of VA services is no relief to Ms. Greene and to those left to mourn her after her July 26 death.
Once an army private, her military career was cut short when she suffered a spinal injury in a floor hockey game in 2009.
The injury left her partially paralyzed from the waist down.
Her final eight years were filled with bouts of physical pain and emotional distress.
At one point Ms. Greene had to defecate into a bucket because she could not climb the stairs to her second-floor bathroom.
Prior to leaving the army in 2014, Ms. Greene was assigned to the Joint Personnel Support Unit.
The unit offers support and rehabilitation services to sick or injured Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
However, it would appear that she did not get the support she so desperately needed.
This is the unit that former Master Warrant Officer Barry Westholm resigned from in 2013.
It’s a unit he describes as plagued by unaddressed staffing and leadership issues and a unit that he says was failing military members who needed its help.
It was while Ms. Greene was in this unit that Mr. Westholm claims planned modifications to her then-home and bathroom at Greenwood were postponed by the military.
Instead, Ms. Greene was posted to transient military accommodations in Halifax — despite her pleas that it would cause her immense stress. She was assigned a single room without a kitchen.
The final straw came this year, after she returned from a residential care program in Ontario.
Ms. Greene had lost access to both her doctor and therapist, causing her to emotionally shut down and cut herself off from everyone, including Mr. Westholm.
“She’d lost all her trust with everyone,” Mr. Westholm, who has become a national advocate for veterans like Ms. Greene, said.
How did we allow Ms. Greene to slip through the cracks? And what will DND and VA do to prevent such failures in future?
Ms. Greene served our country and our country needed to take better care of her.
The lonely end of Leah Greene: How a local veteran fell through the cracks
FRAM DINSHAW STAFF REPORTER
Published August 16, 2017 - 8:10pm
Leah Greene, centre, became parlyzed in 2009, and was assigned to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, which helps personnel who need physical or mental support. In the end, however, the same system failed to save her from becoming isolated.
Brodie Greene still remembers how his mom Leah could recall the names and words of every song on the radio, happily singing along.
But Leah Greene stopped singing forever when she passed away on Jul. 26 at her home near Middleton.
“She was everything,” said Brodie of his mother.
Leah was once an army private serving her country, but her military career was cut short during a game of sledge hockey when she suffered a spinal injury that left her partially paralysed from the waist down in 2009.
Her last eight years alive were racked by bouts of physical pain and emotional distress, at one point forced to defecate into a bucket as she could not climb the stairs to her second-floor bathroom.
Before leaving the army in 2014, Leah was assigned to the Joint Personnel Support Unit, which offers support and rehabilitation services to sick or injured Canadian Armed Forces personnel.
It was from this very unit that former Master Warrant Officer Barry Westholm resigned from in 2013, saying that unaddressed staffing and leadership issues meant that it was failing military members like Leah.
While she was in the JPSU, planned modifications to Leah’s then-home and bathroom at Greenwood were cancelled by the military, according to Westholm.
She was instead posted to transient military accommodations in Halifax despite her pleas that it would cause her immense stress, assigned a single room without a kitchen.
Westholm tried helping Leah by searching for alternative housing in Halifax, but she attempted suicide.
“I arrived back at (CFB) Halifax the next morning to find Leah still, pale and on the floor of her room with the paramedics attending to her (I believe they resuscitated her twice),” said Westholm in an email to VAC.
Since resigning from JPSU, Westholm has become a national advocate for veterans like Leah, whom he helped over the next several years, but he was unable to stop her downward spiral.
The final straw came in 2017, after Leah returned from a residential care program in Ontario.
Leah lost access to both her doctor and therapist, causing her to emotionally shut down and cut herself off from everyone, including Westholm.
While her therapist from Ontario made two face-to-face visits with her, Westholm said that VAC did not approve any further such visits, on the grounds that Leah did not clearly state her wish for this. Only teletherapy would be approved.
“Concurrently, Leah started drinking alcohol, smashed up her place and scared her kids so much that one vacated the premises completely and the other won't sleep there. In discussing this with VAC they stated that I should initiate a visit by the RCMP, which I did, but Leah was in the hospital by the time the RCMP arrived,” said Westholm in an email to VAC just four days before Leah’s death.
Westholm told The Chronicle Herald that Leah — usually a teetotaller — would have survived if VAC at least approved face-to-face therapy to keep her on track.
In her final days, Leah’s distress was compounded by possible financial issues. Her daughter said “mom’s bank card broke and since she is basically drunk all the time, she won’t call the bank to get a new one,” she said in a text to Westholm.
“She’d lost all her trust with everyone,” Westholm said.
VAC spokesperson Marc Lescoutre said that his department could not comment on specific cases but caring for veterans and their families was top priority.
“The Department continues to take substantial steps to improve the health, well-being and financial security of Canadian Veterans and their families,” said Lescoutre in an email Wednesday.
He added that veterans and their families can now access new education and caregiver benefits, a new well-being and emergency fund and expanded access to Military Family Resource Centres.
Other investments include a new centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions and no time limit for access to vocational rehabilitation.
“Additionally, Veterans Affairs Canada recently completed the Service Delivery Review, to make it easier for veterans and their families to access the services and benefits offered by the department,” said Lescoutre.
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