Wounded Warriors, Canada's Pre-eminent Charity for Wounded Canadian Soldiers, Applauds Minister of Defence in Beefing Up Mental Health Funding

Charity Encourages Department of Defence to Focus on Reservists--Volunteer Soldiers Who Live in Communities and Have Been Deployed

TORONTO, Sept. 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Wounded Warriors, Canada's pre-eminent charity for funding activities and initiatives for mental health and physical injuries suffered by soldiers while deployed since 1990, applauded the Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Peter MacKay, today for his commitment of $11.4 million of new money yesterday to provide more assistance to soldiers suffering the hidden mental wounds of their time in Afghanistan.

"This is a good step in the right direction and we applaud the Minister for this initiative" said John Wright, Chair of Wounded Warriors Canada.

The Minister indicated that of the 39,000 Canadian soldiers who served in Afghanistan — many more than one tour— 13.5 per cent are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or have been diagnosed with other mental health concerns such as depression or anxiety disorders, according to the defence department.

"We know that this is needed for those who have been diagnosed, but we also know that there are many who have not presented to date, especially those volunteer, part-time, reserve soldiers who are full time warriors when deployed", said Wright.

Reserve soldiers ("Reservists") are not full time soldiers in the regular force ("held in reserve") but rather those who volunteer to serve and at the same time hold down full time private or public sector jobs in their communities. They are attached to local regiments in community armouries across the country, and train on weeknights and weekends. Approximately 30 percent of the Canadian troops who have served in Afghanistan have been Reservists.

The Minister stated publicly that "It is difficult to quantify the extent of the issue because the effects (are) not identified until, in some cases months, even years after soldiers returned".

"Wounded Warriors Canada encourages the Minister to apportion much of this new funding and its intentions to focus on our communities where our Reservists are, to urgently get an accurate picture of how many have been affected and to formulate locally-based strategies and solutions for their treatment. We look forward to working with the Minister, Veterans Affairs and other agencies to address these issues both now and in the future" Wright said.

To follow: Twitter: @WoundWarriorCa; Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/2431856118/, woundedwarriors.ca

About Wounded Warriors.ca: Founded in 2006, Wounded Warriors.ca is a non-profit organization that helps Canadian Forces members - be they full time or reservists - who have been wounded or injured in their service to Canada since 1990. We help find solutions for current and former members of the Canadian Forces where gaps have left them in need. While providing programs to all members of the Canadian Forces who have been wounded or injured, our primary focus is on reservist mental health.  Our secondary focus is on physical health support, and tertiary focus is on life skills development for all members of the Canadian Forces who have been wounded or injured.

SOURCE: Wounded Warriors.ca

For further information:

Victoria Ollers, 416-822-2288, vo@goldfenix.com; Paul Tyler, 905-235-2731, pt@goldfenix.com

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