New service centre for military veterans opens near Montreal
Jordan Ayley practices jiu-jitsu partly for stress relief.
He’s an Afghanistan war veteran who served with the Royal 22nd Regiment until four years ago.
“I was released from the forces medically because I had an operational stress injury,” he tells Global News. “I wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD or anything, but I did have two psychotic episodes related to my service.”
When Ayley heard about the opening of an operational stress clinic in Longueuil, Que., he was thrilled. It’s a satellite centre to two similar mental health clinics at Ste. Anne’s Hospital in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue.
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The clinics serve veterans who are experiencing persistent psychological difficulties, including post-traumatic stress disorder. The Longueuil centre opened in January and is one of 18 such clinics across the country. It has three full-time staff members — a nurse, a psychologist and a social worker — in addition to a part-time psychiatrist.
The clinic was opened due to the number of clients in Montreal’s South Shore who had to travel all the way to Ste. Anne’s for treatment.
“We’ve opened up this clinic that has now been able to serve 110 clients since it opened in January,” explains Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of Defence Sherry Romanado.
She estimates that the clinic will serve up to 180 vets annually.
But while Ayley is happy with the service he’s getting at Ste. Anne’s, he thinks there should be more clinics.
“Hopefully, they’ll open more in the area for the North Shore people. It would be a great service for anyone who served,” he says.
He and other veterans say that Veterans Affairs needs to do more to reach out to active and former service members because many don’t know about these services or how to access them.
“It’s a realistic problem that we have to face because as guys who leave the service, we need help sometimes,” he stresses.
Veterans Affairs says they are trying to get the message out and will continue to do so. The ministry also hasn’t ruled out opening additional clinics.
For 24-hour counseling and referral services, veterans can call toll free 1-800-268-7708; TTD: 1-800-567-5803.
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