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D-Day anniversary: PTSD, veterans, spouses, and shame

Canadian Living
Culture & Entertainment

D-Day anniversary: PTSD, veterans, spouses, and shame

Today is the 70th anniversary of D-Day and I am ashamed of our country's treatment of veterans who are suffering from PTSD -- in particular, the lack of support for their spouses. This week I was driving home and happened to catch an interview with Jenifer Migneault on CBC Radio One's As It Happens (you can listen to the episode right here). Ms. Migneault is the wife of a military veteran who suffers from PTSD, and she was on the show because she had made headlines last week when she chased after Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, asking for more help for veterans' spouses. Juno Beach She spoke incredibly eloquently about the lasting effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on veterans and, in particular, their spouses. She explained that she feels on the front lines every single day. As her husband grapples with suicidal thoughts, she is the person he turns to for a reason to keep going. She explained that her husband received military combat training where he learned to fight, but she has received no training or support in coping with his illness. Yet in the middle of the night when he wakes up in a flashback and reaches out to choke "the enemy" -- she is the one who ends up in his hands. I truly believe that PTSD is the challenge for our men and women who return from risking their lives for their country. As Canadians, I think we should stand behind our veterans and find a way to fund the very best research and treatment for PTSD in the world. As Lieutenant General The Honourable Romeo Dallaire has pointed out, PTSD is "the injury that starts when the shooting stops." And he has been saying so for a long time, yet we hear from veterans that they struggle with feeling abandoned by their country when it comes to living with PTSD. And according to this CBC report, suicide rates among Canadian soldiers are far higher than those in Britain. I encourage everyone to remember the sacrifices veterans and their families and spouses have made both on D-Day and since and take a few minutes to listen to the As It Happens interview. Then consider writing your MP. (Photo: iStockphoto.com)
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D-Day anniversary: PTSD, veterans, spouses, and shame

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