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Veterans Affairs has been in the media recently. The RCMP have also seen their days of media exposure.

Nestled in the midst of this swirl of media and contention are those who faithfully serve Canada. These men and women strike a pose for justice and strongly oppose negative forces desiring to create instability and lawlessness. At the same time, they provide a face for safety and security that we see on our streets and in our coffee shops.

Image courtesy of vtncanada.org

What happens when personnel transition out of their military/RCMP lives? There is an immediate loss of a close-knit culture and strong self-identity, along with mental and emotional adjustments, and the work of building a new life. A healthy transition sees this “new normal” as a positive thing. An unhealthy transition can manifest itself in anger, outbursts, panic attacks, depression, sleeplessness, fatigue, additions and isolation. PTSD, depression, rebuilding relationships and reclaiming purpose may be forefront.

The Veterans’ Transition Program (VTP) is there to help. The program was developed by four mental health professionals at the University of British Columbia who heard the call for help. Their programming has been available for over 20 years. Designed for those who are struggling in their transition, who are feeling that their life has changed negatively since transitioning from military life, and who desire to live a positive civilian life, the sessions have seen nearly 950 successful military and RCMP graduates nationally.

Image courtesy of vtncanada.org

In an interview with Liam Peel, Operations Coordinator for Western Canada of VTN, hope was offered! A 10 day VTP is planned for Saskatchewan for military and RCMP veterans. The program runs over three separate weekends (April 12-15, May 3-6 and May 18-19) at a location one and a half hours out of Regina. Thankfully, the programming is free of charge, and travel and meals are paid for – with the support of the Saskatchewan Canadian Legion.

The Saskatchewan cohort that is being formed in the next few months will have 6 participants, along with two graduates of the program and two clinicians. The  program is an opportunity for participants to work through difficult past experiences in a structured and supportive environment. Counselling is provided both through group dynamics and in personalized sessions. Connection, communication, self-maintenance and future planning are all explored. The expected outcome? Personal resiliency, decreased anxiety and increased positive personal relationships.

Image courtesy of vtncanada.org

A strong success rate speaks for itself. Graduates of the program proclaim on the VTN website – “UBC did a research study on our delivery showing that everyone who completed the course had large improvements in their quality of life in areas like reduced depression, anxiety, and discovering they didn’t have to avoid certain people or parts of their life anymore. Our programs have a 98% completion rate, one of the highest in the world.”

For further information regarding the VTN programming, contact Liam Peel directly at 604-559-8155, through email at liam@vtncanada.org, on their Veterans Transition Network page on Facebook, or go to their website at vtncanada.org.

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Ron Baker
Ron Baker is a recently retired (2005) member of the Kindersley community. His roots run deep – his grandfather homesteaded just outside Kindersley in the early 1900's. Ron was born in the old Kindersley Hospital, has made his home in various other communities over the years, but keeps coming back. Committed to the community, Ron has found his local involvement has proved to be great fodder for some hilarious tales and tragic events. His experience in administration and working with people, along with his love for a good story, ought to help to bring daily life to life! Ron blogs at ronbaker.ca, and is pleased to be a part of the writing “crew” at Kindersley Social.