Friday, November 11, 2011

Press Release: The True Cost of War

November 11, 2011
On this Armistice Day, Occupy Newfoundland would remind our federal and provincial governments that supporting our troops and honouring the dead means more than poppies and ceremonies. It means leaving no veteran behind. We encourage Canadians to reflect on the true costs of war, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

PTSD, once known as “shell shock”, is a debilitating condition caused by periods of extreme uncontrollable stress, which may result in intrusive flashbacks, aggressive outbursts, or being easily startled and constantly “on edge”. The symptoms impede reintegration into professional and social situations. For example, infantry soldiers that have been exposed to the constant risk of improvised explosive devices in convoys may have difficulty navigating busy highways.
There is widespread discontent with how PTSD is being dealt with by the military. A special report by the Department of Defence/Canadian Forces (DND/CF) Ombudsman found that “... it is evident that significant numbers of CF members suffer from PTSD and, in too many instances, are released from the CF without having been diagnosed or treated for this illness.” (Systemic Treatment of Canadian Forces members with PTSD, Prevalence of PTSD with the CF : February 2002). A follow up report six years later found that “... the office continues to find cases where injured soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, who have served their country with courage and dedication, are slipping through the cracks of an ad hoc system.” (News release: Ombudsman finds military members with mental health injuries falling through cracks of military system : December 17, 2008).
PTSD has a high rate of co-morbidity with depression and sleep disturbances. While PTSD may be caused by a variety of traumatic events, all persons with PTSD have one thing in common: periods of extreme terror that they cannot escape. A recent report on the Iraq War found that more American soldiers have died from suicide than have died in combat. (Losing the Battle; The Challenge of Military Suicide. Center for a New American Security : October 2011)

Occupy NL has been occupying Harbourside Park in St. John’s since October 15, 2011, and is building a community that embodies the societal values its members feel are eroding under the current economic system. In addition to a strong online social media presence with almost 2000 followers, Occupy NL works closely with labour groups and other non-profit organizations to raise awareness about growing social disparity and economic injustice. Occupy NL stands in solidarity with the global Occupy movement. To learn more visit our website at

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Anonymous said...

Good job pointing out PTSD as one of the true costs of war. I agree with the overall point. However, its important to be mindful of language when it comes to mental illnesses such as PTSD. I was bothered by the statement, "all persons with PTSD have one thing in common: periods of extreme terror that they cannot escape". I think I understand what you're getting at: that symptoms of PTSD can be down right debilitating for some sufferers. On that note, its important that we dont lump all PTSD sufferers into the category of experiencing inescapable fear. Truth is, the neurlogy of PTSD is a little more complex than that, and extreme fear is one symptom on a spectrum of many (such as vigilence, resistence, sadness). As well, deeming any symptom as something a person is unable to escape is a negative way of explaining how it works, and it kind of implys helplessness. Its rough, yes. But it is possible to "escape" the symptoms, and its important that we include that possibility and hope in the language that we use when talking mental illness.
Not trying to be a jerk here, this is just very near and dear to me and Id like to see a day when people are more conscious of how they discuss this matter. Namaste.

Anonymous said...
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Gudahtt said...

@Anonymous: Thanks for your input, I completely agree. Should be more careful with wording in the future.

tbaird said...

Just read this now - thanks for the insightful feedback! This press release was kind of a rush job, and the background research was not as thorough as it should have been (for my part I focused on how this problem has been managed by the military). Please keep reading and keeping us on our toes.

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