In response to recent media coverage regarding military suicides and the government’s proposed medical services cutbacks, the Royal Canadian Legion’s BC/Yukon Command is fighting fore public recognition of the importance of intervention for our military serving members suffering from mental trauma and PTSD.
For years the Legion has been filling the gap where services for veterans are lacking. We know firsthand how hard it is for veterans and their families trying to cope with mental issues resulting from military service.
There is no question that the federal government provides certain levels of benefits and programs. However, these only go so far and the need is far greater than we are made to believe. The Legion is directly working with veterans to transition them back to health and back into the community.
In the absence of a tailored, responsive, and comprehensive continuum of care for our returning military, the Legion in BC/Yukon has been making a powerful, practical difference by offering one-of-a-kind programs with life-changing impacts.
• Veterans Transition Program (with UBC) for veterans suffering post-traumatic stress
• Military Skills Conversion Program (with BCIT) for veterans re-entering the marketplace
• Cockrell House for homeless veterans
The Legion does not receive any government funding for these programs. These three programs are made possible by virtue of our ongoing fundraising. In 153 communities throughout British Columbia and Yukon, Legion volunteers contribute over 600,000 hours a year. More and more of those service hours are no focused on engaging the new generation of veterans and trying to help them transition back to their families.
Legionnaires and Ladies Auxiliaries know firsthand that military families bear more than their fair share of the load when one of their own serves in the Canadian military. We fundraise, we reach out and we provide a second family of support for them. Many of our members are not military related themselves, but they are with us because they care.
The Legion is speaking up for those who have served this country with honour when we say they should get more services, not less. The cost to society will be borne by us all for years to come.
Director, Community & Government Liaison
Legion BC/Yukon Command