For many veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces, their military service is the best time of their lives. It’s a time of peak physical condition and close-knit camaraderie, where comrades have your back and everyone has a meaningful role. Working together to serve and protect the country involves a deep and abiding sense of mission and purpose, all based on a military code of duty, pride and honour that can be difficult for civilians to understand.

“We all have a role to play in promoting the mental health and social integration of our veterans. This includes the media, a vital part of civil society that can help foster a culture of inclusion, appreciation and understanding of veterans. This can counter Hollywood-inspired stereotypes that foster fear and suspicion of vets.”

Release from the service can be a huge shock, and civilian society can be perceived as slack and indifferent in equal measure. This can make social connection difficult, with one study indicating that one-third of Canadian veterans experience low levels of social support after release, which can contribute toward loneliness, isolation and mental-health challenges.  Read the rest of this opinion article at The Vancouver Sun…

Authors: Rob Whitley is an associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University and a research scientist at the Douglas Research Centre. Brian McKenna is a retired warrant officer and the veterans adviser to the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions.

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