Program to help P.E.I. veterans ease into civilian life
The first Maritime program starts in March in Halifax
A new national program is aiming to help Island veterans make the transition from the Canadian Forces to civilian life.
The Veterans Transition Program consists of 10 daylong group-therapy sessions over three months.
The Royal Canadian Legion, Veterans Affairs and other organizations have donated almost $1.5 million to make the program available across Canada.
"Honestly, I'd never seen like a man cry before I went on that program. It's really getting into telling their military stories and learning how to communicate those things that most traditional veteran [say] 'I don't ever want to tell my family about.' Well, we've learned that that doesn't work out so well. They end up shutting down so much and often start to isolate," said Tim Laidler, executive director of the Veterans Transition Network
"This program is about bringing them back into a community. You know, military personnel are very good at working in groups and this uses the power of the group to re-engage them back into society."
Jean-Christophe de la Rue, a spokesman for Veterans Affairs Minister Steven Blaney, said in an email statement that programs like this are an important part of the recently launched Transition Action Plan, "launched to help veterans and their families with every aspect of transition to civilian life."
The first Maritime program starts in March in Halifax and is available to Island veterans.
Laidler hopes to eventually offer the program at P.E.I. legions too.