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.”

Related Content

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

Associated Campus

Vancouver Campus
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.”

Associated Commitment

Alumni Engagement


Today on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, we shine light on the importance of divers…
about 21 hours ago.
@plustravelgroup @CentennialTODAY @GlamourDMC Same to you!
6 days ago.
"We must recognize our #Veterans for what they are - incredible assets. And not define them by an injury or a condi…
7 days ago.
Know a struggling Veteran in Manitoba? Our April 13 Veterans Transition Program is their chance to alleviate past-t…
9 Mar, 18
A couple spaces are available in our May 11 Saskatchewan Men's Veterans Transition Program! The VTP is an opportuni…
9 Mar, 18
On #InternationalWomensDay , we proudly honour and celebrate all women in uniform and all women supporting those who…
8 Mar, 18
Know a Female Veteran in Atlantic Canada? Spaces are available in our April 24 Veterans Transition Program (VTP)! T…
7 Mar, 18
Spaces are available in our April 6th Ontario Men's Veterans Transition Program (VTP). The VTP helps struggling Vet…
7 Mar, 18
Job opportunity for Lower Mainland Veterans: @GCT_Can is seeking a Procurement and Sourcing Analyst at their Vancou…
1 Mar, 18
Know someone looking for immediate work in B.C.? @WasteManagement is a military friendly employer currently in need…
1 Mar, 18

Leave a Reply