New funding announced to assist veterans and first responders with PTSD
Tuesday’s federal funding announcements included funds dedicated to assisting veterans and first responders dealing with occupational trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as their families.
The Canadian Women's Wellness Initiative will receive nearly $50,000 in 2020. Meanwhile, Veterans Affairs is pledging over $700,000 for the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia over five years.
“The need is there for the service members, but also for the families because it's tough on both people,” says Navy veteran, Steve Rowland, who left the Navy in 1974. After working for five years aboard HMCS Kootenay, an explosion killed nine people, resulting in decades of loneliness and depression for Rowland.
Rowland was suffering from PTSD, although he wasn’t officially diagnosed for another 13 years. He says society has come a long way in terms of helping veterans and first responders recognize the pain they often suffer.
"Things in those days were different,” says Rowland. “We were told to keep our mouths shut."
The money will be used to target treatment and help fund community programs to benefit those in need.
"They've been a service to the country and in a time of transition, we want to be there for them and support them,” says Belinda Seagram, founder of Landing Strong, a community group that promotes resilience and assistance to military members, veterans and first responders in recovery from PTSD.
However, Tuesday’s announcement gives Rowland hope. He says this initiative will offer assistance to those who need it most – those who have been injured in the line of service.
Meanwhile, a manager from a Veterans Emergency Transition Services drop-in support centre in Dartmouth, N.S., says roughly 80 per cent of the people who use the facility suffer from PTSD. Upon hearing the Tuesday’s funding announcement, he said he and his staff are excited to work alongside the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia to help veterans and first responders.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth