Nova Scotia

PTSD veterans say mental health funding too late for them

The federal government has promised $200 million over six years for mental health supports in the military, but some veterans living with PTSD say the military did little to help them and dismissed them after they were no longer fit to deploy.

“It's like a slap in the face to all veterans," says Rob Dobson

Rob Dobson was diagnosed with PTSD after serving as an infantry soldier in Kosovo in 1999 to 2000. (CBC)

The federal government has promised $200 million over six years for mental health supports in the military, but some veterans living with PTSD say the military did little to help them and dismissed them after they were no longer fit to deploy.

Rob Dobson was diagnosed with PTSD after serving as an infantry soldier in Kosovo in 1999 to 2000. Once out of the Canadian Forces, it took him 12 years to find the help he needed. By then, he was living in a homeless shelter.

"I wanted help and I asked for help and I didn't get it,” he said. “Then after that I wasn't myself and I got kicked underneath the rug and they said 'see ya later'.”

For Dobson, Sunday’s announcement of millions of dollars for mental health, doesn't mean much after the way he says his case was handled.

“It's like a slap in the face to all veterans,” he said.

Dobson is not alone in his concerns about how the military handled the many veterans with PTSD.

Tony Fortune is another one of those veterans.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Fortune was diagnosed with PTSD in 2001 after a training accident in Ontario.

Despite the diagnosis, he was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan in 2005, then dismissed shortly after.

“They flagged me green to go on tour. So I did my tour and then when I came home it was kind of like a slap in the face, they said basically 'you are no longer fit for your duty as a CF member’,” Fortune said.

Dobson thinks the help he wanted 12 years ago could have kept him in service rather than being dismissed as no longer deployable.

“If I had gotten the treatment that I needed then I would probably still be in,” he said.

Today, he continues to help homeless veterans connect to the supports it took him more than a decade to find.

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