The last two weekends, the Canadian story of first responders struggling with PTSD was featured, far too many of whom commit suicide and for whom there isn’t nearly enough support, as most provinces and their versions of the Ontario WSIB do not recognize PTSD as a workplace illness.
The other side of the PTSD tragedy is the numbers of former members of Canada’s military who suffer from PTSD and who are unable to adjust their lives to returning to society, who live homeless on the streets (official number is 2,250, however the number is believed to be significantly higher), who too frequently also take their own lives.
Roy Green spoke with Jim Lowther, the CEO/president/founder Veterans Emergency Transition Services (VETS). Lowther started in 2011, assisting CAF veterans often in desperate need to be fed, clothed, housed and encouraged. He began with a small group of volunteers in Halifax, now a network of 135,000 with hundreds of volunteers across Canada, most former military or RCMP. The volunteers stay with a veteran throughout the journey of getting them off the streets, receiving medical care, proper nutrition, access benefits and services from other organizations, setting up housing and suitable employment. VETS is a program not enough Canadians know about.
There are about 15,000-20,000 homeless military veterans in Canada. How could this be, that the veterans who fought heroically for us are given this kind of quality of life in return?
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