Veteran Blair Davis hears from Ottawa after outcry
Former soldier with post-traumatic stress disorder says others still need help
A Canadian military veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder has finally met with his case worker, days after he complained to the CBC and his member of Parliament.
Blair Davis of Lawrencetown, N.S., developed PTSD after serving as a peacekeeper in Bosnia during the 1990s war. He has been getting psychological treatment, but received no answers for several weeks about whether his treatment would continue.
Davis raised the matter with Peter Stoffer, his MP and the NDP critic for Veterans Affairs. Stoffer raised the issue in Parliament on Friday.
“For weeks and weeks, they have tried to get assistance but to no avail. Mr. Davis is in a very precarious situation. His wife Kim is very worried about her husband. In fact, she even fears going back to work when she does not know the state of mind he may be in,” Stoffer said.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is characterized by the onset of psychiatric symptoms after exposure to a traumatic event. The individual's response to the traumatic event must involve intense fear, helplessness or horror.
The characteristic symptoms of PTSD develop in three domains: re-experiencing the traumatic event, avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event and increased arousal. (Veterans Affairs Canada)
“The parliamentary secretary is fully aware of this file. Can he please advise the House exactly what the government is going to do to assist this family and this hero of our country to immediately get the help he needs?”
Parm Gill, the parliamentary secretary to Julian Fantino, the minister of veterans affairs, thanked Stoffer for bringing the issue to his attention.
“Veterans Affairs officials were immediately directed to undertake a review of the circumstances. I can assure the House that, today [Friday], directions have been given to the Veterans Affairs officials to reach out to the veteran and his family,” Gill said.
On Monday, Davis got a meeting with his case manager. He and his wife Kim went to the military base at Windsor Park to get answers.
"I sat down with my case manager and his manager, which was a first for me. We got all our questions answered, not to our full satisfaction, but we're further ahead than what we were before,” he said after the meeting.
Other veterans still need help
He has scheduled a follow-up meeting and his thoughts have turned to other veterans in similar situations. "There's been a big change in the attitude of the department toward my file," he said. "It's a shame that people have to go through this to get to this point."
Davis said many veterans are going through the same thing and the system needs improvement.
"I'm very optimistic that they will take the concerns of veterans a lot more seriously. There have been enough suicides and attempted suicides. The case managers, even though they're overworked, they've got to start taking us seriously."
Davis was 21 when he was sent to Bosnia in 1993. While there he saw the shelling that destroyed many communities and at one point he had an AK-47 pointed at his head by a young man.