Relying on self-reported symptoms to make a diagnosis is, even for the best clinicians, difficult enough. Among military populations, the diagnosis of PTSD has been hampered, quite publicly, by additional challenges. Soldiers who avoid seeking help and therefore go undiagnosed, as well as concerns over just how accurate the military’s diagnosis process actually is, are but two examples.
The Department of National Defence is cutting the jobs of medical professionals involved in suicide prevention and monitoring post-traumatic stress disorders — despite claims by DND and the Canadian Forces that dealing with such health issues is a priority.
I'm sure that Team Harper is focused with free-market intensity on stopping the gravy train when they cut services like this. They've probably thought very carefully about the bottom line and PR implications of forcing our veterans to individually prove they need psychological help, going against the grain of their training and "corporate culture" of Yes Sir, No Sir, No Excuses Sir.
But I ask this - have they spent much time thinking about what happens when they decide to move on Iran or any number of emerging conflicts with soldiers that are emotionally and psychologically frayed? Do they assume they can just hire more troops, when the horrifying consequences of armed conflict are blasted onto every TV, Movie, Video Game and mobile device screen? Have they thought out the implications of biting off more than Canada can handle militarily or public response to institution a draft?
No matter what they might try to tell themselves, it's not just about the money. It's about the people. I pray for our men and women in uniform - and for the rest of us - that Team Harper doesn't learn this lesson the hard way.