Vets urge government to beef up support systems for soldiers in distress - InfoNews

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Vets urge government to beef up support systems for soldiers in distress

Members of The Royal Canadian Regiment carry the casket at the funeral for Warrant Office Michael Robert McNeil at the Truro Armouries in Truro, N.S. on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
December 05, 2013 - 8:57 AM

OTTAWA - Former soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder are pleading with the federal government to provide more support to veterans suffering from the illness.

The call comes as the government and military grapple with the apparent suicides of four Canadian Forces members in the span of a week.

A visibly distraught Kate MacEachren says she doesn't believe the prime minister or military brass who tell soldiers in distress that help is available.

The government says soldiers and their families trying to cope with PTSD can call a confidential toll-free referral service.

But another veteran, Mike Cole from Trenton, Ont., says soldiers are telling him that when they call, they get put on hold, or are simply told to go to the hospital.

MacEachren is a former corporal who quit the military last summer after being ordered not to repeat a 2012 fundraising walk in aid of injured soldiers.

She calls the loss of four soldiers at their own hands a "national tragedy."

MacEachren says former defence minister Peter MacKay offered words of encouragement when she completed her first fundraising walk, but they now ring hollow.

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The Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program's confidential 24/7 toll-free telephone advisory and referral service for all military personnel and their families can be reached at 1-800-268-7708.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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