'We want to know how to love them properly,' veteran's spouse says
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, May 30, 2014 2:03PM EDT
A day after confronting the Veterans Affairs minister over lack of support for veterans’ caregivers, the wife of a former Canadian Forces sergeant says she and others in her position should receive proper training on how to care for a loved one with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Who are we? We’re dealing with them 24 hours a day,” Jenny Migneault told CTV News Channel on Friday. “We love them, we just want to know how to love them properly and support the therapeutic efforts that are invested in our men and women.”
Migneault confronted Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino and his Parliamentary Secretary Parm Gill outside a House of Commons committee meeting Thursday evening, to demand training and help for caregivers of veterans that are suffering from PTSD and other conditions.
Migneault chased the two down a hallway, shouting: “Mr. Fantino, I’m just a vet’s spouse. You’re forgetting us once more. We’re nothing to you.”
As they left the committee , neither Fantino nor Gill stopped for Migneault or a throng of reporters.
Fantino’s office later said the minister was unaware of Migneault’s presence. The minister’s office also said it has reached out to Migneault and her family in the past, but declined to offer specifics citing privacy concerns.
Migneault said Friday she would “love to meet” with Fantino, and said she has tried to meet with Gill but without success.
Migneault that caring for someone with PTSD “can be hell,” unless you have received adequate training on what PTSD is and how to deal with the symptoms, including anxiety, panic attacks and anger, “a lot of anger.
“We have to be trained in order to properly deal with these issues, and we’re not,” she told CTV News Channel.
Asked about a suggestion that legion members can be trained to help veterans, Migneault responded: “If this training is available, please train us, too.”
She added: “Help us lower the collateral damage related to PTSD.” Migneault’s spouse, Claude Rainville, was diagnosed with PTSD eight years ago. He served in the Canadian Forces for more than 20 years.
Migneault’s plea for help came as Veterans Affairs boosts advertising spending by $4 million, in what the department says is an effort to counter “misinformation” about the treatment of veterans.
“We are faced with the bantering that goes back and forth about what is or isn’t (covered); what facts and non-facts are; and also the fear mongering,” Fantino told the committee hearing Thursday in explaining the advertising campaign.
Migneault said that money should be re-directed to helping caregivers and family members of former soldiers.
Sylvain Chartrand of Canadian Veterans Advocacy in Ottawa said Fantino must first apologize to Migneault, and then get to work implementing training programs for caregivers.
“To disrespect veterans and soldiers, this is one thing. But to disrespect the spouse, the caregiver, the cornerstone of the mental health and the physical rehabilitation of our veterans… This is completely unacceptable,” he told News Channel.