Program helps Veterans living with mental health challenges
OTTAWA, ON, 16 June, 2019 – Serving and retired veterans participated in the national launch of The Royal Canadian Legion’s new Operation VetBuild program in Ajax, ON today. The program uses scale-model building kits in a supportive
atmosphere. Working in a stress-free setting alongside other Veterans, it’s a chance to learn new skills and relax.
“I look forward to seeing the incredible handiwork, the camaraderie and the peer support that will come from Operation VetBuild,” says Legion Dominion President, Thomas D. Irvine, CD.
One of the Legion’s key focus areas is the transition to post-service life, including helping tackle issues such as the mental health stresses that can come from military life.
Jason Salo, a retired reservist and military policeman says Operation VetBuild gives him a chance to meet other Veterans with similar backgrounds.
“I was missing the camaraderie of getting together and chatting,” says Jason. “It is interesting to sit around the table with different generations of veterans and hear the same sorts of stories from everybody,” he says. Attending
the sessions with his 11-year old son Cohen has also added another dimension to his experience, he adds. They get to participate in a fun activity together, and it allows his son to learn directly from other Veterans about the challenges they face.
An idea of the Legion’s Operational Stress Injury Special Section (BSO Legion OSI), the response to the program’s pilot projects was extremely positive. It prompted the ongoing development of a full-scale initiative, says Craig Hood, Operation VetBuild Program Lead, and Chair, BSO Legion OSI.
“We know this sort of activity can be very therapeutic,” he says. “We plan to expand to include as many branches across the country as we can, so we can give as many Veterans as possible the opportunity to participate in this fun activity.”
The first of its kind in Canada, Operation VetBuild arose from similar successful initiatives in Great Britain and the United States. Upcoming sessions in Legion branches around the country this year include in Ontario (Ajax, Angus, Flesherton,
Hamilton Mountain), Alberta (Edmonton), Quebec (Lacolle) and British Columbia (Agassiz), with more locations to be announced in the coming weeks.
To learn more about Operation VetBuild, visit the Operation VetBuild Facebook page
For more information on how the Legion supports Veterans, visit: Legion Veteran support
About BSO Legion OSI
The Royal Canadian Legion Operational Stress Injury Special Section is a national, member-driven initiative that provides outreach, peer support, and referral services for Veterans and their families who are affected by operational stress injuries, including
anxiety, depression, addictions, PTSD or other mental health challenges.
About The Royal Canadian Legion
Founded in 1925, the Legion is Canada’s largest Veteran support and community service organization. We are a non-profit organization with a national reach across Canada as well as branches in the U.S., Europe and Mexico. With close to 260,000 members,
many of whom volunteer an extraordinary amount of time to their branches, our strength is in our numbers.
Public Relations / Media Inquiries: 613-591-3335 ext. 241 or PublicRelations@Legion.ca