Former Canadian Forces member demands better understanding of PTSD in hospitals
A former member of the Canadian Forces says there is a lack of understanding among healthcare professionals about post-traumatic stress disorder.
Alvina Savoie took her daughter to the emergency room Sunday night, and says that’s when her PTSD was triggered.
“There is a patient that came out and he had a cut up head,” says Savoie.
Savoie left the emergency room and went home with her daughter, but says the anxiety continued.
During nearly 20 years with the Royal Canadian Navy, she did a tour in the Golan Heights and was there for recovery efforts after the Swissair crash; all things she didn't want to be asked about when her daughter called 911.
“We're still human beings,” says Savoie. “The questions that were asked were, ‘Did you do any tours?’ I don't need to be asked if I did any tours.”
Savoie says she struggled since 1998 but wasn't diagnosed with PTSD until 2006. It would be nearly 10 years later before she was medically released from the Canadian military.
She says healthcare professionals don't understand her condition.
“It's a very big wound, PTSD, and you can't see it.”
The Nova Scotia Health Authority says they encourage anyone who has feedback on their experience to reach out to them so they can work through a process to understand it, but Savoie says it's always been difficult to get help.
“When I left those [hospital] doors I was really sad because the one place that I know, the one place that I'm supposed to go to get help, and I didn't get any,” says Savoie.
Mike Buckley, a psychologist and registered counselling therapist, who has worked in mental health care for 35 years, says many of his clients with the disorder feel the same way.
“When they go in with a mental health concern, they feel very much that they're ignored, that they're pushed to the side,” says Buckley.
Savoie says she would like to see more training, check lists, or anything else that will create change.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kayla Hounsell.