• DeepBlue2020 Vanguard

Supporting heroes – here’s how

A partnership to help support ill and injured CAF members, Veterans, First Responders, and their families

On any given day, Canada is kept safe by over 60,000 brave men and women under the security and defence enforcement teams of the Canadian Armed Forces. Of this number, some are part of an active deployable force working overseas to protect Canada’s interests beyond its borders. As it is, Canada is already a large territory to defend given its massive landmass and long borders. So, expanding overseas makes it doubly hard for the military to keep abreast with the latest information about Canada, their missions and the industry they serve.

For more than 25 years, Vanguard has been the partner of Canada’s security and defence community, providing sensitive news and information about trends, policy changes and impacts of new technologies in the military. The magazine has been supplying qualified subscribers in the Canadian Forces, Department of National Defence, RCMP, Foreign Affairs, Police Forces, Emergency Management, Public Works and many others with strategic perspectives on the latest government plans or policies affecting the military through in-depth interviews, analyses, and discussions with reliable industry players via its bi-monthly publication, online presence, and conferences. In addition to successfully widening its platform as a knowledge base for Canada’s defence and security personnel all over the world, Vanguard is also involved in serving the local community. 

Supporting Heroes

A recent initiative that Vanguard began rolling out is a partnership with Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC) to assist in promoting awareness and help fund their mental health programs supporting ill and injured CAF members, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. 

“We wanted to give something back to the industry and help those men and women who put their lives on the line to protect Canadians,” said Terri Pavelic, Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard. “By partnering with WWC, we can get behind a really great organization to support those who sacrifice so much for Canada.”

This new initiative, known as The Supporting Heroes Campaign, is a one-of-a-kind program where a defence media company and a leading mental health service provider have joined forces.  Through the partnership, Vanguard’s outreach is inspiring the military community to help its members receive the psychological support they deserve in their time of need. This is accomplished by spreading the word about mental health and generating funds from subscriptions and sponsorships. A portion of all Vanguard subscription proceeds will be given to help fund Wounded Warriors Canada’s life-changing programs.

“By subscribing to Vanguard magazine, readers receive a high-quality magazine while extending much-needed help to CAF members, Veterans, First Responders and their families at no additional cost,” said Pavelic. “Through this program as well, WWC facilitates the sharing of knowledge and raising awareness to support the growing demand for mental health services.”

Mental Health Service

Wounded Warriors Canada is a national mental health service provider utilizing clinical best practices and evidence-based care to create an environment of compassion, resiliency and hope for Canada’s Veterans, First Responders and their families. Its origin can be traced back to a dreadful incident that occurred on September 18, 2006, in Afghanistan. 

On that fateful day, a suicide bomber on a bicycle detonated an explosive device killing four Canadian soldiers and leaving more than a dozen soldiers and civilians injured – including Sapper Mike McTeague. That incident led to the creation of the Sapper Mike McTeague Wounded Warrior Fund, established to send comfort items to our troops overseas recovering from injury in theatre. As the needs of the fund wound down in 2013, the organization was witness to the emergence of growing demand for mental health support from Veterans at home. This led to the creation of Wounded Warriors Canada.

Over the years, Canada has lost veterans and CAF members to suicide. It is also losing many of its able servicemen to Operational Stress Injury (OSI) or what is termed “invisible injury.” OSI includes diagnosed anxiety disorder, depression, PTSD and other mental health conditions that restrict normal life functions of military professionals as a result of their exposure to many unfortunate situations.  

Mental Health Programs

The need for mental health support is growing. Each year, one-third of the 1,600 men and women being released from the CAF due to medical reasons have difficulty making the transition to civilian life. Based on data available, between 10 per cent and 35 per cent of first responders will develop PTSD. In Ontario alone, 40 per cent of police calls involve people with mental health issues. 

So, the need for mental health programs is crucial. According to Scott Maxwell, Executive Director of Wounded Warriors Canada, their innovative mental health services include:

  • Trauma Resiliency Program (TRP) – Clinically facilitated group-based training program that combines the power of a team approach with effective, trauma-resilient skill development
  • COPE (Couples Overcoming PTSD Every day) – Canada’s leading clinically facilitated couples-based trauma program 
  • PTSD Service Dog Program – Properly trained PTSD service dogs change lives. This program provides funding to support the training of approximately 100 dogs per year
  • Couples Based Equine Therapy – A combination of Equine Assisted Learning, Psychological intervention, combined with tools to reduce conflict, manage anger and improve communication
  • Before Operational Stress (BOS) – A group-based intervention program providing participants the opportunity to receive and offer support in a group context with issues related to operational stress

WWC has nearly100 therapists and psychologists who are trained to deliver their programs across the country. The organization is looking to expand its services with initiatives like The Supporting Heroes Campaign to help those suffering from mental health issues.

“When a Veteran or First Responder is injured, it doesn’t matter where, when or how their injury occurred. What matters is that member and their family know that we, as a country and community, are in this together – working to ensure they receive the help they so rightly deserve. We are grateful for the support of Vanguard and look forward to engaging further with the security and defense community in the months ahead,” said Maxwell.

How You Can Participate

This type of collaboration between Vanguard and WWC is a great example of how communities can work together for the greater good of the men and women who are risking their lives to keep Canada safe day after day. To help support Canada’s ill and injured CAF members, Veterans, First Responders and their families, subscribe to Vanguard. You’ll receive a high-quality magazine and in turn assist those that are suffering through mental health issues. 

Visit http://www.vanguardcanada.com/subscription for more details or check out the podcast with Scott Maxwell and Terri Pavelic, who shared more about this partnership: https://vanguardcanada.com/2019/12/16/wounded-warriors-canada-and-vanguard-supporting-wounded-heroes/.

Author: Marcello Sukhdeo and Emmanuel De Guzman

Marcello is the managing editor of Vanguard, IT in Canada and Canadian Government Executive and the host of Vanguard Radio and WRLWND Radio podcasts. He is an avid technology and security enthusiast, who has worked on content leadership strategies for a number of industries including the public sector, life science, technology and defence.

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