Peer support helps Canada's veterans and their families with recovery

Community Nov 08, 2017 by Mike Adler York Guardian

The Canadian Forces’ message for veterans struggling with psychological effects of their service is they aren’t alone, and neither are their families.

“Life can get better,” says Laryssa Lamrock, who for nine years until this July co-ordinated peer support in Greater Toronto for what the Forces call Operational Stress Injuries, or OSI.

OSI isn’t a medical or legal term, but refers to any prolonged psychological impact – depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, sleep disorders.

Peer counsellors work one-on-one with service members and veterans. They lead support groups for them and for their families.

They are there, like Lamrock, because they understand what it means to suffer with an OSI, and can connect people with resources which help.

Lamrock’s husband was medically released from the army in 2008 after two tours in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD, but he’s worked hard at recovery and has come far; once, his OSI was “an hour-by-hour thing,” now it’s an occasional blip, she said last month.

“When I was new to the military culture there were limited services available (for people with OSI) and not much knowledge,” said Lamrock, but as she went from military daughter to military mother — her father was in the Forces and her son is a reservist — it’s come “leaps and bounds.”

More people are using the recovery programs, and more know what to recognize as symptoms, she said.

OSI support groups, which are completely confidential, include social activities. Peer support, said Lamrock, happens organically, almost magically. “It’s very powerful.”

For families, support is like oxygen masks dropping in an airplane; you have to put yours on first.

At support groups, a woman who’s supported her husband with an OSI for 20 years understands how to help that young spouse who’s there and scared, Lamrock said. And if a person’s having a bad day, she doesn’t judge, she added.

The first step to recovery, however, can still be the hardest. “We call it ‘the 10-ton phone,’” said Lamrock.

“They just have to reach out. The supports are there.”

Anyone who wants OSI support services can call 1-800-883-6094 or go to www.osiss.ca


Peer support helps Canada's veterans and their families with recovery

Dealing with stress injuries has come 'leaps and bounds'

Community Nov 08, 2017 by Mike Adler York Guardian

The Canadian Forces’ message for veterans struggling with psychological effects of their service is they aren’t alone, and neither are their families.

“Life can get better,” says Laryssa Lamrock, who for nine years until this July co-ordinated peer support in Greater Toronto for what the Forces call Operational Stress Injuries, or OSI.

OSI isn’t a medical or legal term, but refers to any prolonged psychological impact – depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, sleep disorders.

Peer counsellors work one-on-one with service members and veterans. They lead support groups for them and for their families.

They are there, like Lamrock, because they understand what it means to suffer with an OSI, and can connect people with resources which help.

Lamrock’s husband was medically released from the army in 2008 after two tours in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD, but he’s worked hard at recovery and has come far; once, his OSI was “an hour-by-hour thing,” now it’s an occasional blip, she said last month.

“When I was new to the military culture there were limited services available (for people with OSI) and not much knowledge,” said Lamrock, but as she went from military daughter to military mother — her father was in the Forces and her son is a reservist — it’s come “leaps and bounds.”

More people are using the recovery programs, and more know what to recognize as symptoms, she said.

OSI support groups, which are completely confidential, include social activities. Peer support, said Lamrock, happens organically, almost magically. “It’s very powerful.”

For families, support is like oxygen masks dropping in an airplane; you have to put yours on first.

At support groups, a woman who’s supported her husband with an OSI for 20 years understands how to help that young spouse who’s there and scared, Lamrock said. And if a person’s having a bad day, she doesn’t judge, she added.

The first step to recovery, however, can still be the hardest. “We call it ‘the 10-ton phone,’” said Lamrock.

“They just have to reach out. The supports are there.”

Anyone who wants OSI support services can call 1-800-883-6094 or go to www.osiss.ca


Peer support helps Canada's veterans and their families with recovery

Dealing with stress injuries has come 'leaps and bounds'

Community Nov 08, 2017 by Mike Adler York Guardian

The Canadian Forces’ message for veterans struggling with psychological effects of their service is they aren’t alone, and neither are their families.

“Life can get better,” says Laryssa Lamrock, who for nine years until this July co-ordinated peer support in Greater Toronto for what the Forces call Operational Stress Injuries, or OSI.

OSI isn’t a medical or legal term, but refers to any prolonged psychological impact – depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, sleep disorders.

Peer counsellors work one-on-one with service members and veterans. They lead support groups for them and for their families.

They are there, like Lamrock, because they understand what it means to suffer with an OSI, and can connect people with resources which help.

Lamrock’s husband was medically released from the army in 2008 after two tours in Afghanistan. He was diagnosed with PTSD, but he’s worked hard at recovery and has come far; once, his OSI was “an hour-by-hour thing,” now it’s an occasional blip, she said last month.

“When I was new to the military culture there were limited services available (for people with OSI) and not much knowledge,” said Lamrock, but as she went from military daughter to military mother — her father was in the Forces and her son is a reservist — it’s come “leaps and bounds.”

More people are using the recovery programs, and more know what to recognize as symptoms, she said.

OSI support groups, which are completely confidential, include social activities. Peer support, said Lamrock, happens organically, almost magically. “It’s very powerful.”

For families, support is like oxygen masks dropping in an airplane; you have to put yours on first.

At support groups, a woman who’s supported her husband with an OSI for 20 years understands how to help that young spouse who’s there and scared, Lamrock said. And if a person’s having a bad day, she doesn’t judge, she added.

The first step to recovery, however, can still be the hardest. “We call it ‘the 10-ton phone,’” said Lamrock.

“They just have to reach out. The supports are there.”

Anyone who wants OSI support services can call 1-800-883-6094 or go to www.osiss.ca