September 12, 2012
More cash for wounded warriors
By KRIS SIMS, Atlantic Bureau
HALIFAX - Wounded warriors suffering mental injuries from serving on the battlefield are getting more support from Ottawa.
The federal government will spend an additional $11.4 million to help care for and counsel soldiers, sailors and airmen haunted by post-traumatic stress injury.
"It's about recognizing the operational stress disorder very much related to the mission in Afghanistan, an intense, high-tempo operation," Defence Minister Peter MacKay told QMI Agency.
MacKay said that as a civilian who has observed the culture of the armed forces for many years, he sees attitudes changing about mental health, that it's no longer seen as a weakness.
"There cannot be a stigma for reaching out for help, there should be no career impacts, there should be an encouragement to come forward because a mental-health injury can be just as devastating as a physical one." MacKay said.
The new money will hire four psychologists, 13 psychiatrists, 13 social workers, 10 mental health nurses and 11 addictions counsellors. The cash will also step up chaplain services.
The announced money was reallocated from the existing defence department budget and is in addition to the $38.6 million spent annually on the mental-health needs in the military.