To have been made aware of multiple suicides among members of Canada’s military over recent days is tragic. The rote response to this loss of life among the men and women who proudly signed on to defend this nation and its values has been for political talking heads to demand appropriate services to ensure the support necessary for Canadian Forces members (current and former) is available.
To observe members of parliament challenging each other on this issue during Question Period is distasteful. The mental health of our Canadian Forces members isn’t a political football.
Would it be so difficult for political parties to shelve their routine accusatory challenges over at least this issue? Isn’t it possible for Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and Ms. May to agree that on this one particular matter they will work together to accomplish a common goal for the common good of the most dedicated and loyal Canadians? Namely, those who volunteer to wear the Canadian shoulder patch and volunteer to put themselves in harm’s way for the ultimate protection of us all?
I’ve been in contact with a number of veterans on this issue and would suggest to our federal politicians they do the same. Don’t consider it sufficient that there exists a Department of Veterans Affairs, a Military Ombudsman, various rules, regulations and standard operating procedures. Instead, ask veterans looking out for each other right now what is most needed and take the necessary steps to protect their comrades suffering from debilitating military service related PTSD, perhaps combined with additional mental health stressors.
Set aside regulations and rules where and when necessary and provide these pained, often physically and mentally CF members and former members with whatever care is necessary to remove the ultimate act of self-harm as their self-assessed only option for release from overwhelming distress.
Certainly Canadians may reasonably expect no less from our elected federal representatives.
To think that today somewhere in this country a current or former Canadian Forces member is living with untreated or only partially addressed destructive PTSD and/or other military service related mental health issues should be motivation enough to set aside political bickering.