Author Topic: DND asks soldiers to share stories of mental health issues, care in videos  (Read 8590 times)

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Offline Vanguard

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Link: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/dnd-asks-soldiers-to-share-stories-of-mental-health-issues-care-in-videos-1.1652275

Quote
CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:15AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 23, 2014 12:58PM EST

The Department of National Defence is asking members of the Canadian Armed Forces to share their stories about receiving care for mental health issues in a series of video segments, CTV News has learned.

CTV News' Mercedes Stephenson has obtained a copy of a letter that was sent to soldiers, which states that the Directorate of Mental Health is working with the Department of National Defence's office of Public Affairs to produce a series of short video segments about the Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Services.

The letter says that it is not necessary for soldiers to have suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in order to participate in the project.

 "While much of the media and political attention is on PTSD and operationally related mental health issues, we realize that the bulk of the mental health issues that we see in the CAF are not PTSD and are not always related to operations," the letter says.

"Ideally DMH would like to interview people from a variety of ranks, occupational and environmental backgrounds who have sought mental health care."

The letter says the videos will help "demystify" some of the barriers surrounding mental health care.

"We know that there are numerous success stories out there of folks who have sought some level of mental health care, received services from CF Health Services and support from their chain of command, and gradually recovered and continued on with their careers."

In a statement to CTV News, Daniel Le Bouthillier, head of media relations at the Department of National Defence, said "care of the ill and injured is a priority for the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces.

"The DND and the CAF are continuing its efforts to reduce stigma, encourage those suffering from mental illness to seek care, and to give hope to those with mental illness that care is available and recovery possible.

As part of this work, DND and the CAF are developing further products including videos in partnership with stakeholders to keep mental health and wellness top of mind."

A veteran's advocacy group says the videos could help in eliminating the stigma attached to soldiers seeking mental care.

"Even though it has clearly been motivated by exterior pressure, I think if these videos are done correctly, they could be a great tool -- in theory -- in our collective battle to eliminate the military stigma issue," said Michael Blais, president and founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy.

It's "an issue which I believe is the one of the greatest deterrents to self identification and the provision of comprehensive care," added Blais.


Could this just be another PR stunt by the DND? So far does it seem like just another crowd pleaser to the public? You decide.

Please read and comment if you wish to do so. Also check out the viewers comments hosted on the provided CTV article. Public reaction at the moment is seemingly negative.

Maybe DND finally took their heads from out of their a**es.
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Offline krustyrl

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Maybe to make a "feel good" video clip to be released to the media.?  "see...we're doing good"

Offline milnews.ca

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Please read and comment if you wish to do so. Also check out the viewers comments hosted on the provided CTV article. Public reaction at the moment is seemingly negative.
In case you hadn't already learned, a lot of online commentary linked to stories about the military don't leave a lot of people with a lot of faith in how much the public "gets" the CF.  That said, a number are asking about whether, in a time when money is reportedly pretty tight, there is time/energy to spend on such video outreach.

Maybe DND finally took their heads from out of their a**es.
Maybe.
Maybe to make a "feel good" video clip to be released to the media?  "see...we're doing good"
Maybe. 

In some government systems, realizing there's a problem often leads to action (to allow people - often elected ones - to say "see, we did something"), but sometimes without asking the question "did this solve the problem?"

Like the OP said, you decide.  Time will tell.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2014, 20:06:50 by milnews.ca »
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Online Hamish Seggie

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Maybe to make a "feel good" video clip to be released to the media.?  "see...we're doing good"

Your cynicism is showing itself. I would like to think that if soldiers come forward and share their stories, those that need the help will step forward as well.

Let's not be to judgemental about this.
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Online Haggis

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I would like to think that if soldiers come forward and share their stories, those that need the help will step forward as well.

Let's not be to judgemental about this.

I think you're spot on, Jim.  The intent, as I see it, is to have members volunatarily share their mental health treatment success stories to encourage others who may be reluctant to seek treatment to come forward.
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Offline George Wallace

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I look at it as a means to combat the rumour mill that has been broadcast in the MSM; mostly all bad press.  Time to start showing the facts.  Not everything will be rosy, but at least it will demonstrate to the MSM and Public that there are steps being taken.
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Offline Pieman

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To an extent, I like the idea. There are a lot of positive things going on that tend to get overshadowed by the negative.

Going on camera while still serving to talk about this is not an easy thing for a soldier to do at all. I can't say I would out of fear of a loss of privacy and the consequences of dealing with people in the regiment who may or may not support you.




Graffiti in regimental toilet stalls: The official guide to troop moral....apparently.

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Offline Strike

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To an extent, I like the idea. There are a lot of positive things going on that tend to get overshadowed by the negative.

Going on camera while still serving to talk about this is not an easy thing for a soldier to do at all. I can't say I would out of fear of a loss of privacy and the consequences of dealing with people in the regiment who may or may not support you.

But then you might get that one guy who comes up to you and wants to talk because maybe he's going through the same thing.  frig what the rest of the guys think.  It's that one guy that you might be able to help because of what you went through that you'd be doing this for.
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Online Hamish Seggie

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When you have a mental health issue and admit it, you find out very quickly who your "brothers" are.

You would be surprised to find out who they are and they are from the least expected places.
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Offline Vanguard

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The following link is provided by CTV Canada AM programming. I'm glad to see Chris Dupee the founder of Military Minds talking with them again and spreading the word.

For those who don't know Military Minds is, it is an association that targets to outreach current and previous military members that are dealing with PTSD and reaching out to them in their need. Their mission is to "Break the Silence" surrounding PTSD experiences and opening up the problem facing them.

Video Link: http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=281185

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Offline Jarnhamar

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We should ***** and complain that the CF isn't doing anything about soldiers with mental illness then criticize them when they try something.

That or "give vets more money".
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Online Hamish Seggie

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We should ***** and complain that the CF isn't doing anything about soldiers with mental illness then criticize them when they try something.

That or "give vets more money".

So true. I hear a lot of b$$$$ing and moaning, but if it's more cash it seems to be good.
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Offline MCG

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http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/seeks+volunteers+mental+health+success+story+videos/9427882/story.html

It seems DND is trying to do what the talking experts have called it to do - that would be to improve the culture so that members in need of help will seek out the help.

Offline MCG

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... and I think the video (at least the first one) is a good start toward that objective of improving the culture so that members in need of help will seek out the help.  Getting Rick Mercer to to the opening was probably a smart move too.  The video can be found at the link on the bottom.
Quote
‘More than 200′ military members share stories of mental illness: DND
Global News
Irene Ogrodnik
10 April 2014

TORONTO – More than 200 Canadian military personnel who have suffered a mental health issue and sought care have reportedly come forward to share their stories in a series of online videos for the Department of National Defence (DND).

“You need to think about what you need to do, what’s best for you and your family,”  said Kevin Ablett, chief petty officer, 2nd class for the Canadian Armed Forces in the video. “You have a long life. Go live it.”

In January, the DND said they reached out to CAF members in hopes that some volunteers who have experienced a mental health issue would speak about their treatment and recovery.

In the past few months, a spate of suicides has prompted a lot of public attention on the care and services available to soldiers and their families.

Completed last month, the video looks at the positive experiences of members in accessing CAF mental health services.

“The purpose of these videos is to keep mental health and wellness top of mind, and to provide members with examples that demonstrate that help is available,” said National Defence and CAF spokeswoman Lindsay Tessier.

“The goal is for members to recognize that coming forward for treatment is an essential, positive step.”

Tessier said that great efforts are being made to identify personnel with mental health problems and to provide them with assistance in the form of treatment, counselling or other types of support.

In the first installment, Canadian TV personality and political satirist Rick Mercer provides an introduction by encouraging men and women of the Canadian Forces to take advantage of the medical care available to members of the military.

“Many Canadians struggle with mental health problems but members of the Canadian Forces are at an increased risk because of the work that you do,” said Mercer.

“The military’s health care system is there to help members like you. If you are a veteran, there are services and benefits available to you as well. But they can’t help you if you don’t come forward.”

Mercer is renowned for his rants and has previously slammed the government for their treatment of veterans and, most recently, for cuts to Veterans Affairs that eventually lead to the closure of nice offices across Canada.

The video then shares the stories of several members who have suffered a mental illness and sought care.

“Seeking help was the best decision I ever made, because I mean, today I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, my husband is saying ‘I got my wife back’ my kids are saying ‘we got our mom back,’” said Capt. Kim Miller.

“There’s no shame in having a mental illness,” said Sgt. Lynne Gagnon in the clip. “It takes strength of character to seek assistance and you have to be strong; you can’t wait because the longer you wait the worse it will get; things will just get more difficult.”

According to the CAF website, approximately 15 per cent of regular force personnel access mental health services each year. CAF said that although efforts have drastically reduced the time their members wait before seeking care, it remains a problem in the CAF and in the general population.

“While most with persistent problems do eventually seek care, some wait years or even decades to do so,” said CAF. “During this period, they suffer unnecessarily, are not as productive as they could be, and their condition may become more difficult to treat successfully.”

Tessier said that other videos are in the works and are expected to focus on the process of treatment, transition, suicide prevention, and further focus on member experiences.

Since 2002, the federal government has poured nearly $110 million into improving mental health services within the military, including an often quoted $11.4 million announced just prior to the ombudsman’s report.

In January, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair wrote the prime minister and urged him to make military suicides a priority. New Democrats also called for an acceleration of the investigation process for suicides within the military, some of which have been pending for five years.

Veteran advocates have previously spoken out about the need urgent need for more mental health and transition support for members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Michael Blais, founder of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said he has seen the first video and believes that that it “delivers a solid message” and “is a step in the right direction.”

“I hope that they play a part in a greater program to reduce stigma withing the military and encourage those who are suffering from mental wounds to seek help,” he told Global News.

Last month in a news conference, Blais said a decades-old commitment to care for those who served, particularly wounded soldiers, has been abandoned by the Conservatives as they prepare to commemorate the sacrifices of war in Afghanistan.

The Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program has a confidential 24/7 toll-free telephone advisory and referral service for all military personnel and their families: 1-800-268-7708. If it is an emergency, call 911.

Blais said he encourages self-identification of mental wounds and encourages serving members and their families to seek DND mental help lines as “stigma has no place within our band of brothers and sisters.”

Wounded Warriors Canada national ambassador and recently retired Lieutenant Colonel Chris Linford, 53, said the video is timely and is pleased to see the Canadian Forces engaging purposely when it comes to talking about mental health issues in the military.

Linford said he is very proud of the people who shared their stories and struggles. Linford joined the military as a nursing officer in 1988 and was deployed on several domestic operations as well as three operational tours overseas to the Gulf War, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

He was originally diagnosed with PTSD in 2004 – 10 years post Rwanda. Linford said he has battled his injury and has spoken about his journey in hopes of reducing stigma that he says often prevents others from coming forward.

“I know it can take a long time to come forward and seek help,” he said. “It wasn’t until I [had] my own personal ‘meltdown’ that I knew I could no longer cope with my illness.”

Linford said he used the military services and sought help through the health clinic in Victoria, B.C., where he went through a year’s worth of therapy with medication.

On March 18, the last of Canadian troops returned from combat operations in the Afghanistan war, marking the end of a military mission that spanned more than a decade and claimed the lives of 162 Canadians.

“While the mission in Afghanistan is over and we are no longer losing troops, the mental health issues that will amount over the next decade is what we need to focus on now,” said Linford. “We cannot forget what happened to the troops that went there and we need to maintain the mental health resources that we have. It would be criminal to cut those service now that the war is over.”

Linford predicts mental health issues in the Canadian Forces will probably be “of the highest priority in the next decade or so” and that the conversation surrounding mental health illness must continue.
http://globalnews.ca/news/1262372/dnd-says-more-than-200-soldiers-volunteered-to-share-stories-of-mental-illness-treatment/