Romeo Dallaire says Canada has made exponential improvements in trying to help military personnel who have suffered mentally as a result of their service.
The former lieutenant-general, who will speak at the PEI Friends of True Patriot Love 2017 tribute dinner Thursday night, said the creation of the military mental health institute about five years ago has done wonders in looking at the three sides of the problem.
"Side one is how do we prepare our people better to handle some of the traumas they may face," he said. "Two, once deployed how do we help them as their in the midst of living with that construct and in fact reducing the impact on them.
"And then three...how do we handle them to discern those that are injured and take early urgent action to give them the support, the proper support they need."
Candid about personal experience
Dallaire has been very open about his battles with post traumatic stress disorder arising from his time in the army, particularly from when he served in Rwanda.
He has written numerous books about his experiences, which have prompted many people to contact him.
"People communicate directly with me to seek support, information. I help many veterans as they worked their way through the bureaucracy."
Dallaire said breaking the bond of the uniform and becoming a regular citizen can be very difficult.
"To me, as I look back it was probably one of the most catastrophic impacts on me because it is subsequent to that that I became horrifically suicidal and felt that I had nothing to really give me the reference I needed to move forward and handle the complexities of civilian life."
Dallaire's new focus is to help children from being recruited and used as weapons of war.
"If I can pull them out of the inventory of war, I think we'll go a long way...my aim is to get the kids out the game."
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