Liberal Defence Critic John McKay tours UBC’s Veterans Transition Program

September-12-12

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2012

Liberal Defence Critic John McKay tours UBC’s Veterans Transition Program

VANCOUVER – On Wednesday, September 12, 2012 Hon. John McKay P.C., M.P., Liberal Critic for Defence, toured the Veterans Transition Program at the University of British Columbia. The program specializes in supporting soldiers and veterans experiencing operational stress injuries (OSIs) such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Not just limited to medical intervention, the facility addresses the complexity of trauma that our soldiers have experienced and attempts to bridge transition from conflict zones to everyday society. A program developed for soldiers by soldiers, it has served 270 people so far with cutting edge research and services that are supported by the Royal Canadian Legion, True Patriot Love and Wounded Warriors.

However, the soldiers and veterans in need of such services number in the thousands.

While the recent announcement by the Minister of Defence of additional medical staff to treat these injuries is a step in the right direction, much more can and must be done to identify and treat OSIs. The problem should not have been allowed to reach what one report by internal DND clinicians recently described as “a crisis.”

“These invisible injuries have the widest and most profound impact on the ability of individual soldiers and entire units to preform to the standard that we so often require of them. It is also extremely difficult to come forward when experiencing the difficulties presented by operational stress injuries. The Government should be doing much more to help the Canadian Forces foster a supportive and inclusive environment to ensure early intervention and healing in the case of mental health issues.

Our soldiers have been serving in Afghanistan for over a decade and the Conservative government should be much further along in developing a supportive mental health infrastructure for our soldiers and veterans. UBC’s Veterans Transition Program does outstanding work but they lack the resources to serve everyone in need. The Government of Canada should be supporting them and other organizations to ensure that our men and women of the CF are never left to suffer in silence.”

Hon. John McKay, P.C., M.P.
Critic for Defence for the Liberal Party of Canada

Contact (Parliamentary Office): (613) 992.1447 / mckayj@parl.gc.ca