Post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety are viewed within the Military as Operational Stress Injuries (OSIs).  According to Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire (Ret’d), the incidence of OSIs has increased since the Gulf War because of the (1) different nature of conflicts, (2) ethical dilemmas encountered in the field by military personnel, (3) complexity of the missions, and (4) multiple deployments. Although they are invisible, Operational Stress Injuries are as real and as honorable as physical injuries.  When left untreated, OSIs lead to tremendous suffering and even suicide.  There are efforts in the Canadian Forces to de-stigmatize OSIs.  We invite you to listen to the following powerful talks about OSIs:

Thank you for your service to our country

  • Retired Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire, presentation given at the University of Southern California Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families.  Lieutenant General Dallaire talks about the various challenges with reintegration upon his return home and he shares his personal experience with post-traumatic stress and its effects. (link)
  • Lieutenant Colonel Chris Linford shares his experience with OSIs during a Forum on PTSD that took place at Royal Roads University.  (link).  Lieutenant Colonel Linford also has a website (link) and he has just published a book about his experience with operational stress injuries.
  • General Walter Natynczyk talks about OSIs in the documentary “Broken Heroes” (link)

Below are links to articles on the topics of mindfulness and equine assisted therapy for the treatment of trauma in military personnel.

  • Article from the National Center for PTSD – “Potential of mindfulness in treating trauma reactions”  (link)
  • Article from the information network for Canada’s veterans and their families that shows the demand for equine assisted therapy (link)
  • Article describing the partnership between Veterans Affairs Canada and McGill University to study the benefits of Equine Assisted Therapy (link)

   Lodging is situated 15 minutes from our facility by a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains.  Wildlife is abundant and the fishing is excellent.  Relaxation, nature and being with members of the Canadian Forces who have also sustained operational stress injuries are an important part of the healing process.  Indeed, research shows that risk factors contributing to post-traumatic stress disorder are (1) additional stressors and (2) lack of social support (Brewin et al., 2000). Clients' families are invited to join the program during the last week.  OSIs affect the whole family and as emphasized by Retired Lieutenant General Romeo Dallaire during his talk at the University of Southern California Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families, the family must be involved in the healing process.

References

Brewin, C.R., Andrews, B., Valentine, J.D. (2000).  Meta-analysis of risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder in trauma-exposed adults.  Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 5, 748-766.