Vancouver non-profit works to help veterans during Remembrance Day

A Vancouver-based non-profit organization, which provides support for military members and their families, says the lead-up to Remembrance Day can trigger mental health issues for veterans.

'It's a hard place to be,' says military veteran about annual event triggering mental health issues

Remembrance Day can be exceptionally difficult for young veterans, says a Vancouver non-profit military resource centre. (Justin Pennell/CBC)

A Vancouver-based non-profit organization, which provides support for military members and their families, says the lead-up to Remembrance Day can trigger mental health issues for veterans.

"It's difficult for them because they think about experiences in their own lives, they think about the experiences of their comrades-in-arms," said Tracy Cromwell, executive director of the Mainland B.C. Military Family Resource Centre.

From service life to civilian life

Cromwell said Remembrance Day is often associated with soldiers who fought in wars during the 20th century, and it can be easy to forget younger veterans.

Some younger veterans face mental health issues that can come from transitioning from service life, back to civilian life, said Cromwell.

The resource centre is trying to help military personnel who were released from the military due to medical reasons.

'It was devastating'

Angela Ayre says she understands the need to try and support younger veterans in different ways.

She joined the military straight out high school and served as a medic for almost nine years. She then worked as a military finance clerk until 2010 when she was in a serious motor vehicle collision.

The military helped Ayre with her physical rehabilitation, but she ultimately was not able to fully recover and she was medically released from duty in 2015.

"It was devastating. It was a loss of identity," said Ayre. "To have a positive experience [with medical release] isn't heard of."

'Hard place to be'

Ayre found the transition back to civilian life difficult, and now uses her first hand experience to help other veterans make their own transitions.

She recently became a program coordinator at the resource centre.

"It's a hard place to be. If you're not capable of doing the full duties, it kind of puts in you a different place. Anyone that is injured [in the line of duty] can relate to what I'm saying," said Ayre.

With files from The Early Edition