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PTSD / OSI [Merged]

the 48th regulator

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No,

I do not believe we have been handled properly,

I had to learn 10 years after the fact where to get help.

Please Check out your nearest OSISS representative if you feel you are suffering.

As it stands right now, YOU, yourself, are the one that has to seek out the help, and then the healing can happen.   It will, hopefully, change one day.

There are people out there that are watching out for us, OSISS in particular.

dileas

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As a currently serving   Reg Force member, with a husband who has served 25 yrs in combat arms, and as a woman who has seen several close friends whose careers and lives have derailed and ended because of PTSD, I have been intrigued by it, and have started studing it more indepth.   I am a psychology student, but have become such to better understand my friends, my career, and my military environment.
There is no ill intent behind this survey.   Just a hope that a discussion may prompt awareness, and a greater knowledge of what i deem a debilitating illness.
Any opinions, for or against are greatly appreciated and can only help to educate, if noone else, at least myself.
 

Cloud Cover

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No doubt you are aware it's a bit of a touchy subject with the CF, thats all. Good luck with your poll. :salute: 
 

PPCLI MCpl

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The scientific method is understandably inter-twined with ethical concerns.  I have always found that transperency is the best policy.
That being said, I hope you are able to gain some clarity on the issue.

Welcome to the site.
 

Armymedic

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Well, needless to say I won't be voting in your poll, being medical and all....

As for people being taken care of properly, I guess you would have to define "properly". I would also have to say we are learning our lessons and hopefully getting better each yr, and with each year both the Chain of Command and medical services are ensuring nobody is being left on the roadside.

But like any other injury or illness sustained by a member of the forces, it is the member themselves who needs to take that first step towards treatment.

 
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I guess to explain "properly" as "adequatelly" it still wouldn't encompass the entire scope of help required.

As for being a medic, I do not intend "cared for" to only include physical needs, but also a vast spectrum of help, such as psychological, sociological, a support network, a greater awareness of the incidence rate, spiritual support, even educating so that mbrs with the disorder don't feel there is a stigma attached.

It is a disorder that touches many aspects of a persons life, tending to the physical needs is just skimming the surface, although a very important surface to skim.

 

3rd Horseman

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I am with 48th Regulator, and can only emphasise his comment.

See your local OSSIS rep, at Gagetown just drop into the MFRC on wed night 16 Nov at 6:00 bring a coffee no appointment needed come and chat. For the spouses it is this wed night same bat time same bat place.

  I voted no but it is getting better. I would suggest that each base and area is different has a lot to do with command. After the firing of the areas top Phyc doc at Halifax I don't know if they are on a good road.
 

TN2IC

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The MFRC in Gagetown is a good place.. just make sure when you bring you coffee get it from the Gateway Timmies... they make better coffee and the main drag...lol. :warstory:
 

paracowboy

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Whats your opinion of PTSD in the CF?
Frankly, I'm against it.







yeah, I know, it's a serious topic an' all, but the thread could use a giggle to lighten it up a bit.
 

Cloud Cover

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Frankly I'm all for it:

Para-Troopers-Shooting-Dummies

But seriously folks ... 
 

3rd Horseman

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I didn't know Frank had it? ;D

Here is a question on the subject to ponder.

Should PTSD be divided into 3 categories and renamed?


1. Operational Stress divided into two sub categories - Combat stress
                                                                          - Operational stress
2. Workplace Stress
3. Nervous breakdown

Thoughts?
 

Armymedic

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Well let me answer directly with my personal opinions and observations:

Do you feel members diagnosed with PTSD are being properly "handled" within the CF?

Yes,
based on three things; information, recognition, and proper disposal.

Information: troops are informed that amongst other things, stress is a normal reaction to abnormal situations, and no matter how "tough" you are, you may develop PTSD.

Recognition: Everyone, including supervisors and a good portion of spouses are now aware of the symptoms of stress related problems.

Proper Disposal: No longer will the MO or Padre need to to the only contact. There is a whole gambit of specialists who deal with mental health issues, including one medical Col who overwatches all the various agencies within the CF to care for stress related patients.
 

buddyhfx

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Just a quick information point for those of you that are bilingual, CBC French network is showing a very good documentary Friday Nov 11th at 21:00 East Time. It shows real life stories of some of our military members that have to deal PTSD. I would imagine that some day CBC will have the english translated version.......

Cheers....
 

Gunner

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CBC television will be airing a documentary entitled "Operation Crash Landing" on the 11th of November.  The documentary features four veterans from deployments in the early 1990s who are subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.  The documentary consists almost entirely of the veteran's stories.

The producers of the documentary have been holding pre-release screenings to audiences across Canada and internationally.  Other media sources have been invited to these screenings.  The stories deal with the resources that were in place (or were not in place) in the early 1990s to deal with veterans who have retuned from deployments with Operational Stress Injuries.  Unfortunately, it completely ignores the multitude of programs that have since been put into place to help these veterans.  While the stories are always compelling, the documentary is a snap shot of the Canadian Forces of a decade ago and not the reality of the Canadian Forces of today.

Doctor Mark Zamorski, head of deployment health section at the Canadian Forces Health Services group shared his general reaction to the film.  "I thought the film did a beautiful job of portraying Post traumatic stress disorder.  These people walk down the street and they don't look any different from you or me and so the average Canadian doesn't have any sense of the depth of their suffering and the sort of symptoms they have."
Zamnorski and Lalonde say the stories of former Peacekeepers in the film applies to the inadequately equipped Peacekeeping Forces of the 1990s, but suggest that there have been vast overall improvement since then.  For example, Canada intends to open new treatment clinics for military PTSD. Four such clinics are already in operation in Winnipeg, London, Ottawa and Quebec.
 

NOV 05, 2005
EPOCH TIMES, INTERNATIONAL EDITION
Canadian Forces Battle Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
By Sharda Vaidyanath
Epoch Times Ottawa Staff

From Haiti to the Sahara, from Guatamala to Afghanistan, Canada's peacekeeping missions span some of the most dangerous and politically volitile landscapes on earth. But the toughest battleground for peacekeepers yet may not be on foreign soils, but right here in Canada.

Canada's treatment of war veterans and peacekeepers is coming under fire, thanks largely to a chilling new documentary called Crash Landing, which was screened last week at Ottawa's Museum of Civilization as well as in the United States and several European countries.

The film examines the high personal price of Canada's peacekeeping missions in Africa, the Middle-east and Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The price is Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which a Canadian Military Ombudsman report says "touches up to twenty percent of the Canadian Forces." Last week's special screening of Crash Landing in Ottawa was hosted by Senator Michale Meighen and the highly decorated Senator Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire. Senator Dallaire is the author of Shaking hands with the Devil-the Failure of Humanity in Rwanda, which won the Governor General's award for non-fiction last year. Dallaire's own recollections of Rwanda served as a perfect introduction to the film:

"I became suicidal because there was no other solution. How do you live with the memories of the pain, those sounds, those smells? How do I deal with that deafening silence that haunts me day and night? "

The Crash Landing also featured formers Canadian forces Peacekeepers who shared stories of their "daily hell" of living with PTSD.

Among them is Georges Dumont, a former peacekeeper who served in missions to Cyprus, Somalia, Bosnia and Haiti.

Dumont says he's frustrated with the lack of support available in Canada for veterans suffering from PTSD.
"Loyalty should go both ways, now it's only going one way, " he says. Dumont has initiated legal proceedings against the federal government for 88-million in compensation.

Not everyone with PSTD comes forward like Dumont has, however, due largely to a 'culture of invicibility' within military forces which tends to encourage silence about mental and physical disabilities. Raymod Lalonde, a co-leader for Veteran's Affairs on joint mental health care project involving the DND and RCMP, says that Veteran Affairs Canada currently has 4962 veterans who are on pensions for PTSD, but many more have yet to step forward.

"Sometimes they don't come out because they don't want to put their careers in the forces in jeopardy," says Lalonde.

Doctor Mark Zamorski, head of deployment health section at the Canadian Forces Health Services group shared his general reaction to the film.  "I thought the film did a beautiful job of portraying Post traumatic stress disorder.  These people walk down the street and they don't look any different from you or me and so the average Canadian doesn't have any sense of the depth of their suffering and the sort of symptoms they have."

Zamnorski and Lalonde say the stories of former Peacekeepers in the film applies to the inadequately equipped Peacekeeping Forces of the 1990s, but suggest that there have been vast overall improvement since then.
For example, Canada intends to open new treatment clinics for military PTSD. Four such clinics are already in operation in Winnipeg, London, Ottawa and Quebec.

Senator Meighen disagrees, saying that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is "a phenomenon of the 21st century. It's a phenomenon of Peace-Keeping, of stress, of horrific events. "

"As long as our forces continue to be involved where you have war, they will be those sorts of things."
Canada's Peacekeeping forces came into existance in 1956 when Lester B. Pearson's (then Secretary of State for External Affairs) proposed a peacekeeping mission to ease tensions between Egypt and Israel in the suez canal crisis. The mission was a success, and Pearson was credited with inventing the modern concept of peacekeeping.

 

PJ D-Dog

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Loosing God in Rwanda

My experience with PTSD dates back to the mid to late 90s.  LFAA had instituted a first responder program called Critical Incident Stress Intervention.  Soldiers from all units within the area had been seletcted to attend the three day course.  Training consisted of case study analysis of documented cases, definitions and role playing.  I took the training seriously but believing I would never have to use the skills and knowledge gained through the training.  I was wrong.

Sgt Jones (not his real name), had transferred to my reserve unit in late 1994 early 1995.  He had just spent 20 years in the regular force and had moved back out east to be closer to his wife's family.  Now he was a reservist working as a supply tech in the unit QM.  Sgt Jones was a good guy with a lot of experience in the supply field.  He was a classic senior NCO, rough around the edges with a can do attitude.

As his stint in the unit progressed, it became apparent that he was experiencing some social problems although the nature of these problems were not widley known.  Upon my return from the course in January 1997, the unit padre approached me and explained that we would be working together on critical incident stress cases in the regiment as they came up.  He then filled me in on Sgt Jones' case as he felt that I could be used to keep on eye on him and possibly become his confidant should he need to talk to someone.  I was not given many details.

Since joining the unit, Sgt Jones and I had become friends.  After I took the course, he regularly told me how he would need to talk to me at some point in the future.  Sgt Jones' personal problems were becoming more and more evident.  He drank regularly and did not seem to be in complete control.

The padre told me that Sgt Jones was experiencing the onset of PTSD due to events that took place in Rwanda during the failed UN mission under Gen D'Allair.  He told me that he was under the care of a military psychiatrist at a nearby base.  This is all that I knew at the time.

As the weeks progressed, Sgt Jones began to talk to me about his treatment and about how he felt.  He had stopped his treatment as he no longer had any confidence in the military head shrinker.  He told me about his job in Rwanda and how he no longer had any faith in the CF leadership.  His drinking was now problematic.  The only time he would talk to me was after he had a lot of drinks.  These soul cleansing sessions would last hours at a time.

One night, the padre came to me in the middle of the training evening and wisked me away in his car to Sgt Jones' house.  There seemed to be some sort of domestic disturbance between him and his wife.  Mrs Jones had phoned the padre and asked him to come to the house in order to keep the local police out of it.  The padre had me sit and wait in the car just in case he needed back up.  The situation seemed to resolve itself and the padre explained that Sgt Jones was drunk and just needed to sleep it off.  I was told how this was a regular occurance at the Jones household.  Although I felt a little bit out of the loop on the situation, I was, however, not totally prpared for what happened next.

A week later, we were once again at the amoury for a training night.  Sgt Jones approached me in a state of total emotional disrepair.  His weeping was out of control and all he could do was hang on to me and cry.  I quickly rushed him into another room and there he sat on the trails of a 105mm howitzer, crying like a baby, completely unconsolable.  I tried to get him to talk to me but all he could do was cry.  After an hour, he finally calmed down and began to recount the events that took place the night before.

Sgt Jones was at home when he lost control while disciplining one of his children.  He said he grabbed the nine-year-old by the throat and began choke the boy.  During this incident, he said he had a moment of enlightment where he realized what he was actually doing.  He let go of the boy and then began to drink.  Now we were sitting in the gun room and he was in a state of disbelief at what he had tried to do.

"My family mean everything to me," he said.   "I'm completely out of control".

He  began to tell me of the events that took place in Rwanda.

"I used to belive in God, you know.  Now I lost God in Rwanda."

He told of how he spent five months dragging dead bodies out of a river and burrying them.  On one occassion, he found a young woman's body which had been mutilated.  The woman was pregnant and her womb had been cut open and the baby removed.  He said he searched for the baby's body, found it and burried it with the mother.

"I tried to give them all the best Catholic burrials I could."

He told me of another incident when he brought a wounded Rwandan child to the CF field medical clinic for treatment.  As he entered the tent, the Canadian medics refused to treat the child since it was their coffee break and that he could wait.  The child died in his arms.  He said his platoon commander was a Captain who was constantly drunk and refused to leave the tent out of fear for his life.  At one point, the Captain ordered him to shoot a Rwandan civilian because the officer didn't want to deal with giving him medical treatment.

"I don't feel anything inside me anymore.  I've been hollowed out from the inside," he told me.

The padre finally arrived in the gun room.  He sat down and began to talk to Sgt Jones.  It was then decided that he should immediately  be hospitalized in a civilian hospital.  Sgt Jones went willingly.

The fall-out from this was immense.  The first thing I found out was that he was supposed to visit with the military psychiatrist three times a week but due to military cut backs, he only saw the doctor once every three weeks.  Eight months prior to this break down in the gun room, had been sent to National Military Medical Clinic in Ottawa only to be sent back home.  It was revealed in a later investigation that he had been sent home due to the fact that Sgt Jones was beyond any working group available at NMMC.  He was offered no substantial follow-on treatment.

After that fruitless visit in Ottawa, he had attempted suicide twice, tried to kill his brother-in-law, cleaned out the local coffee shop of all customers, litterally throwing them out the door, because someone was stirring their coffee a bit too loudly.   The local police did nothing in this incident as they believed he was from the local Native reserve and they were scared.  He drank everyday and on the side drove a school bus for the local school district yet he was completely out of control and suffering from full blown PTSD.

In the year that followed, he had to give up training at the unit, could no longer work at any job and was hospitalized two more times.  It was also discovered that upon his return from Rwanda, he applied for his military pension and released from the regular force two weeks after returning to Canada.  There were no debriefs of any sort.

His case was finally resolved in 2000 and given a full medical disability pension.  He has not been able to hold down any type of real job since and takes a large daily cocktail of drugs just to keep him sane.

I should hope that the CF has a better program in place for PTSD than what Sgt Jones had when he had to deal with it.

PJ D-Dog
 

muskrat89

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A little before PJ came along, I was a good friend of Sgt Jones. I believe I was one of the first to befriend him when had come to the Unit. My family did things with his family, etc. This too was my first taste of PTSD. Jones told me of doing a recce in Rwanda. They came upon a village Church. Upon throwing the big wooden doors open, they discovered the church full of (dead) people, mostly women and children, that had been mutilated - hoes, machetes, whatever. He had shared parts of some of the other stories as well. I left the Unit in 96, and know PJ and the Padre very well also. At the time, I did the best I could, and it seems like after I left, PJ and the Padre were equipped at least a little better than I was. I am relieved to see that PTSD is finally being acknowledged and dealt with...
 

FormerHorseGuard

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The military  is learning to deal with the stress of job and non related issues.
now at least they have a name, besides shell shocked and put back on the line like in the early years.

as one who has gone thru  the non job related stress and treated by  DND  doctors and looking back I can see why  a lot of members do not wish to seek treatment thru the DND system.
being put on a temp Med Cat, no field training, no courses, no promotions,  are jsut some of the things that  happen, then the fiel follows thru  your career, they call it a paper trail , it is there for life. Never forgotten, they  just bury  it under a few papges in your med file.

It can ony get better with treatment , groups and other ways.
it helped me deal with issuses. But it does not work for everyone
 

3rd Horseman

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After watching the CBC show on PTSD the question I posed earlier in the thread comes more to mind now, anyone care to comment this time?


Should PTSD be divided into 3 categories and renamed?


1. Operational Stress divided into two sub categories - Combat stress
                                                                          - Operational stress
2. Workplace Stress
3. Nervous breakdown

Thoughts?
 
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