Author Topic: VAC DM: Wounded vets need more respect  (Read 1566 times)

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VAC DM: Wounded vets need more respect
« on: November 25, 2015, 06:11:00 »
May seem obvious, but nice to hear it out loud - highlights mine ....
Retired general Walt Natynczyk, who was Canada’s top commander as troops were engulfed in intense combat in the Afghanistan war, says Veterans Affairs needs to address its failings because it has a duty to care for wounded vets and their families.

The former soldier isn’t speaking as an outsider: He is deputy minister of Veterans Affairs, appointed to the position a little more than a year ago. He said the federal department needs to shore up its resources and show more respect, care and compassion for vets living with physical injuries and mental scars. It needs to encourage the latter to seek treatment, he said, because one suicide “is one too many.”

In a speech Tuesday at a Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research conference in Quebec City, Mr. Natynczyk said he wished “we were perfect in our support” of veterans and their families. “We recognize that there are shortcomings and we need to fix them.”

That means keeping Liberal campaign promises, which would undo some of the cuts made under the previous Conservative government. The new government has pledged to reopen several Veterans Affairs regional offices across Canada and reinstall lifelong pensions as an alternative to lump-sum payments for disabilities.

The department will also work with National Defence to develop an enhanced mental-health strategy, said Mr. Natynczyk, who was chief of the defence staff from July, 2008, to October, 2012.

The commitment to improve Veterans Affairs and mental-health care comes as preliminary findings from a new study show nearly one-third of a sample of veterans who served in Afghanistan had a diagnosed mental illness – a higher rate than other Canadian vets. Many also faced physical challenges: 42 per cent experienced chronic pain, and 70 per cent had a physical ailment.

The Veterans Affairs’ findings could signal a coming wave of soldiers who will need financial and rehabilitation support from the federal government ....
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