Review taking place in light of apparent murder-suicide in Nova Scotia
On the heels of an apparent murder-suicide in rural Nova Scotia, Premier Stephen McNeil says he’s asking the federal government what supports are available for military personnel dealing with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
McNeil also says a review of services is now taking place at the provincial level.
“We know that there had been, this gentlemen had been receiving some level of treatment. I don’t know the level, I don’t [have] the access into that,” McNeil said.
“I know the department and the health authority are in the process of looking at whether or not the appropriate protocols were followed or whether or not their services were even accessed.”
Late Tuesday, the bodies of Lionel Desmond, his wife Shanna, their daughter, Aliyah, and Lionel’s mother, Brenda were found inside a residence in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.
Family members say Lionel struggled with PTSD following a deployment in Afghanistan in 2007.
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They say he tried to get a bed at St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in nearby Antigonish on Monday, but was denied.
“He wanted help,” Rev. Elaine Walcott, a relative of Lionel’s, said.
“Specifically, to be admitted to the mental health ward and there’s no beds available, and we can’t find your records or we don’t have any records available. My understanding is that the veterans have beds set aside at St. Martha’s.”
Health Minister Leo Glavine wouldn’t say Thursday whether there are enough beds at the hospital.
“I don’t know that to be the case. I just don’t have that information at the moment,” Glavine said.
Walcott said the tragedy has been tough on the family.
“Brenda loved her son. I don’t want this incident to be sensationalized, whereby he went off and killed his family. No. He was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder,” she told Global News.
“My biggest concern right now is that post traumatic stress disorder has affected the communities of Lincolnville, Upper Big Tracadie and Guysbrough.”
Canada’s military ombudsman says no member of the armed forces should be released until all benefits and services they require are in place.
“There is a problem in this country that in the rural communities, getting access to these types of health services is very, very difficult,” said Gary Walbourne.
“So, for members in the urban centres, it’s maybe a little easier. But this was a remote location and a couple of hours away from one of the clinics this person may have wanted access to.”
RCMP say they expect to release more information about the case on Friday, after autopsy results become available.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911. 911 can send immediate help. For a list of available mental health programs and services around Canada, please refer to the list here.
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