- Media Release
Shining a Holiday Light on Those who Live with PTSD
The Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions wants to shine a light on the emotional complexities and conflicts, compounded by COVID-19, that arise for many Veterans during the holiday season.
CANADA — December 8, 2020 — There are just under 650,000 Veterans in Canada, as well as countless families, caregivers, friends, doctors, colleagues, and others who have a Veteran in their inner circle. For many, the holidays can bring a feeling of anxiety and pressure to “play a part” in the rituals of the season. For many Veterans, the holiday season can be a hard reminder of celebrations missed, of comrades who have lost their lives tragically, and of the deep suffering seen in war zones. For many families this may be their first holiday season without their loved one. For many Veterans who have seen the poverty and scarcity experienced by so many around the world, this time can feel wasteful and upsetting. However, joy, gratitude and love are felt by many as well. The holidays are a time of emotional complexities.
The Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions wants Veterans, their families, friends, and caregivers to know it is normal to be surrounded by people and still feel loneliness. Veterans can be spreading kindness during this season and still feel hopeless. It’s possible to be experiencing the joys of this season with people you love and still feel discouraged. Veterans and their loved ones are not alone – there are many resources that can help.
“The holidays can create pressure for Veterans to push through the negative feelings at this time of year. Pressure to act as though everything is OK, spend money that isn’t there and push feelings of depression and anxiety away, can cause a deep loneliness. I have been there; my first Christmas back was extremely challenging and clouded by painful memories,”
Brian McKenna, retired Warrant Officer and Veteran Advisor at the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions.
Our goal this holiday season is to bring awareness to the challenges the holidays can bring up for Veterans and their families while ensuring Veterans feel seen and valid in their emotions. Together we can have hope for the future.
THE CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE ON PTSD AND RELATED MENTAL HEALTH CONDITIONS WANTS TO HELP VETERANS KNOW THAT THEIR FEELINGS ABOUT THE HOLIDAYS ARE VALID. THEY ARE SEEN AND THEY ARE NOT ALONE.
“We know the holidays can be a complex time for Veterans, their loved ones and others who live with PTSD; however, there are resources to help. If you are in crisis, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Talk to your doctor or health care provider or contact a Veteran mental health specialist at 1-800-268-7708 to speak to someone who can walk with you on your healing journey,” said Dr. Patrick D. Smith, President and CEO of the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions. “We want Canadian Veterans to know you are seen, you are not alone and, together, we can have hope.”
The newly created Centre of Excellence on PTSD has also just launched their website, atlasveterans.ca/, which has resources for those living with PTSD and other mental health conditions, Veterans, Veteran Families, and those being affected by the stress of COVID-19.
ATLASVETERANS.CA HAS RESOURCES, TOOLS, AND INFORMATION TO HELP VETERANS, THEIR FAMILIES, AND THEIR CAREGIVERS ON A JOURNEY TOWARD MENTAL WELLNESS.
The Centre of Excellence on PTSD website has information on PTSD treatments, how to talk to your kids about PTSD, how to protect your mental health during COVID-19, and where to get help, as well as many other useful tools. The Centre of Excellence on PTSD aims to improve the well-being of Canadian Veterans and their families.
About Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Heath
The Centre of Excellence on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Related Mental Health Conditions functions as a “Network of Networks.” This Network is made up of an Advisory Committee, community-based Reference Groups, and communities of practice where lived experience is valued as much as technical expertise.
The Centre’s Advisory Committee directly informs the Centre’s knowledge, practice, and policy work. This Committee is comprised of representatives from four community-based Reference Groups: Veterans, Veteran Family Members, service providers, and researchers.
Our common purpose is to improve the well-being of Canadian Veterans and their families.