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Date: September 27, 2005
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Legion Addresses Veterans' Peacekeeping Trauma

Canadian Forces veterans and service men and women suffering from the effects of post-traumatic stress and other mental health issues will soon have a new service to assist them. The Royal Canadian Legion is donating $30,000 to establish a community counselling clinic in partnership with the University of Victoria’s department of educational psychology and leadership studies. The pilot project will provide practicum positions to UVic education graduate students at the clinic. Unlike counselling services offered by the military, this clinic will also offer assistance to military family members and group counselling for female veterans.

“We’re very excited about this project,” says Dave Sinclair, second vice-president of the Royal Canadian Legion’s B.C./Yukon Command. “We’ve been wanting to help veterans of all kinds who are in distress. Those who are still in the military are often reluctant to seek counselling. Others may have gone through their entire career without seeking any help. The older members of the Legion wanted to use these funds to provide a legacy for the younger vets and their families.”

The clinic will serve a potential membership of 10,000 veterans and serving members in southern Vancouver Island and will offer individual and group sessions. UVic education professor Dr. Tim Black will direct the program. He became interested in the effects of trauma when, as a graduate student, he worked with Canadian military veterans for the first time. He experienced the effects of trauma personally when he survived a stabbing attack.

“Most Canadians don’t realize what the new generation of veterans has experienced during peacekeeping and peacemaking duties,” says Black. “It’s still difficult for these men and women to discuss their lives within the military structure, but they appreciate being able to talk about their experiences with fellow veterans. The Legion is providing them with that opportunity with the assurance of confidentiality.”

The clinic will take referrals from case managers from CFB Esquimalt, CFB Comox and the department of veterans affairs, peacekeeping groups and civilian peace officers. Individuals can also make appointments with the clinic. There is no charge for the service. For further information contact command service officer Terry Mills at (250) 381-3992 or Black at (250) 721-7820.
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Media contacts:
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656 or ppitts@uvic.ca
Dave Sinclair (Royal Canadian Legion) at (250) 727-7818 or davesinclair@shaw.ca
Dr. Tim Black (Education) at (250) 721-7820 or tblack@uvic.ca

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