this week on tvo: "war of the mind", canadian documentary on ptsd

This Wednesday, July 6 TVO, Ontario's public television station, will broadcast "War in the Mind," a Canadian documentary about post-traumatic stress, depression and the rising suicide rate among soldiers and veterans. "War in the Mind," by British Columbia filmmaker Judy Jackson, features Romeo Dallaire speaking about his own battle with PTSD, and is narrated by Paul Gross.

"War in the Mind" will premiere on TVO's "The View from Here," on Wednesday, July 6, at 9:00, with repeat broadcasts July 8 (midnight), July 10 (11:00 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), August 28 (8:00 p.m.) and August 31 (1:00 a.m.).

From the media release:
All the soldiers who bravely speak out in this film are doing so because they want us to understand what they endure. They also want to reach out to others who are suffering in silence, and may feel the only way of ending their pain is ending their lives. Senator and Lt. General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire also plays a major role in this film. For many years he has heroically spoken out in public to declare that he suffered intensely from PTSD and had attempted suicide. And today he continues to campaign on behalf of all soldiers who suffer. [Ed. note: One way Senator Dallaire can help suffering soldiers is to support US war resisters in Canada, something that, thus far, he has not done.]

War in the Mind also investigates the issue of soldier suicide. Statistics from past and present wars tell the sad story of the magnitude of this problem. Families who have felt invisible, their sons’ stories unacknowledged, tell of the impact of their loss.

Yet this film also discovers that with effective treatment suicide can be prevented. Our cameras gained unique access to a UBC/Canadian Legion program which helps soldiers undo the wiring that military training has implanted in their brains, confront their pain, and learn to live again. At the beginning of this therapeutic program one of the soldiers states:

“I have thought of committing suicide multiple times. I’ve almost done it. You feel alone, and, once the alcohol stops working for you, you are at the end of your rope.”

After the last therapy session this same soldier was full of hope: “I’ve seen changes in myself. Before I didn’t know if I had a future, but now the world’s my oyster. So it’s a huge impact.”


David Cho said...

Last night, I watched a Frontline program on the very same topic! It was truly sad and heartbreaking.

One despicable thing on the part of the US Army is this. Unless you "ask" for help, you don't get it. Of course, there is the stigma against asking for help because it makes you look weak as a warrior, and the Army does very little to encourage asking for help. And if you act out (drugs, getting into fights, etc) without asking for help, you get discharged dishonorably. You are on the streets now penniless with no prospect of getting treatment at all.

laura k said...

One despicable thing on the part of the US Army is this. Unless you "ask" for help, you don't get it.

Most people who ask don't get it, either.

Dean Walcott, a war resister in Canada, tried everything possible to get the Marines to get him therapy for his PTSD. They would only allow him to see a Marine doctor, whose main interest was declaring him fit for continued service.

When Jeremy Brockway, also a war resister in Canada, needed help for severe depression and PTSD, he was hazed and persecuted.

I know many such stories.

You're right, it is depicable.

John F said...

This comment has nothing to do with your post. I just wanted to bring to your attention a fascinating BBC online article that sheds light on activism, and government's response to it, from a century ago: Spy pictures of suffragettes revealed

Laura, I think you need to open a forum so we can post more things like this!