The Other Battle Scars

The Other Battle Scars

Brave Brain

When veterans return home from war there are many programs to help heal their bodies, but often it’s their hearts and minds that require the most attention. Dr. Marvin Westwood and Dr. David Kuhl identified this need back in 1997 and developed the Veterans Transition Program (VTP) at UBC to help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other issues that veterans face.

“Our society has such a stigma attached to mental illness that it has made getting help even harder,” says Dr. Westwood. “What we need to remember about PTSD is that it’s not a disease, it’s actually an injury that can be healed.”

The program was originally set up as a pilot project to help local BC veterans. However, in October of 2012 it was successfully granted federal funding and the opportunity to help veterans across Canada. It was the passion and dedication of UBC alumnus Tim Laidler, who recently received the 2013 Young Alumnus Award, that made this a reality. As Executive Director, Tim has helped establish the Veterans Transition Network (VTN), a non-profit organization that is taking UBC’s Veterans Transition Program to cities across the country.

In 2007, Tim left UBC in his 3rd year of undergrad to serve in Afghanistan. “When I got home in ’08 I was able to finish my degree, but I found I was always tired and getting frustrated about things way too easily,” explained Tim, “I felt like things were fine but I felt dead inside.” He eventually realized he was suffering from PTSD and luckily a friend told him about Dr. Westwood and VTP.

“The program changed my life,” said Tim, “Afterwards I just had to get all my military friends to go. I gave them no choice about it and thankfully they all listened. Every one of them felt the same positive change as I did.”

Tim loved the program so much that he has now dedicated himself to growing it, but he’s clearly one success story of many. Dr. Westwood confirmed “90% of the veterans who have participated in the program have settled into new careers and shown improvement in personal relationships.”

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Tim Laidler and Dr. Marvin Westwood Credit: Martin Dee
Veterans Transition Group Session Credit: Martin Dee

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Dr. Marv Westwood (left) and Tim Laidler (right) Credit: Martin Dee

“PTSD ... it’s not a disease, it’s actually an injury that can be healed.”

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Are you a Veteran living in Manitoba? Find out about our research backed, life changing Veterans Transition Program… https://t.co/RmUFE33r4t
about 7 hours ago.
RT @_rossnichols: Not all injuries are visible. My friend Tony & I deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. Here's his story: https://t.co/4VdvaHaX…
1 day ago.
Know a Veteran who's struggling in Alberta? Our Transition Program could be the break through they need. Please RT!… https://t.co/U70PHzgbnb
3 days ago.
RT @saoshawa: #LestWeForget It was real life https://t.co/TonQcV3P2F @RoyalCdnLegion
3 days ago.
Spaces are available in our Fall Women's Manitoba #VTP! Please RT and spread the word to Canadian Vets!… https://t.co/pffS8TmrcA
6 days ago.
@RoyalCdnLegion Beautiful story. Thank you for your service and Happy Birthday to you, Chester Banks!
7 days ago.
How do you respond to this article? Reply and let us know! https://t.co/arNGbVpU0f
7 days ago.
RT @InvictusToronto: Happy to have Contact! Unload a part of our cultural program! #IG2017 #IAM #InvictusGames https://t.co/vdpuKOIWn2
7 days ago.
Thank you @MovemberCA team members for meeting with us! We thank you for your support and look forward to Contact!U… https://t.co/tELWkHv2MX
7 days ago.
RT @CMFamilies: Summer camp gives tools to military children living with a parent with an Occupational Stress Injury: https://t.co/0QjZL4Ox…
13 Jul, 17

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