Post traumatic stress disorder can come in many forms and can be different for every person and an event in St. Andrews this week is bringing Canadian Armed Forces members, retired veterans and their spouses together in a retreat-like atmosphere.
The Wounded Warriors Canada event focuses on the mental health issues of serving and retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“For many of them this is their first opportunity to come out as they’ve been struggling with mental health injuries, so it’s meant to be a [place for] relaxing, reconnection and developing camaraderie and trust,” said Phil Ralph, Wounded Warriors Canada’s national program director
Paul Wilbert, 42, and his wife April are two of the participants. Wilbert has spent time in the army and navy from where he was medically released in 2012.
He suffers from PTSD.
“One of the hardest challenges domestically in Canada was a lot of the body recoveries,” Wilbert said.
Over the years, Wilbert said body recoveries from events such as the Swiss Air disaster, took its toll on the body and mind.
“Couldn’t walk, you can’t even get out of bed,” said Wilbur.”Flashbacks from body recoveries, just being in uniform.”
Paul’s wife April was not in the military but suffers from spousal PTSD.
“I have a lot of emotion that I can’t process properly and it can come out when I don’t want it to,” she said
April said she’s been able to access programs to help her as well, but believes more awareness is needed for spouses who are suffering.
Paul Wilbert also has a service dog, which is now part of their family.
“It takes us away from those dark thoughts or other thoughts that could pop up as to what you’re going to do today and all that,” he explained.
“I now have a focus on the animal and my wife more today.”
There will be another Tribute To Service events this year in Newfoundland and Labrador.