Veterans face hard transition to civilian life
Jeff Bell, Times Colonist Published: Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The majority of Canada's military veterans have difficulties with the transition to civilian life, according to a survey conducted by the University of Victoria and the Royal Canadian Legion.
The survey of more than 200 veterans from January to July of this year found that 53 per cent considered the move to the civilian world to be difficult or fairly difficult. Another 21 per cent said the transition was very difficult.
Of those veterans contacted, 90 per cent were male, 77 per cent were married or in a common-law relationship, and 60 per cent were between 41- and 60-years-old. The online survey is the first non-governmental analysis of its kind involving Canadian veterans.
About one-quarter of respondents said finding satisfying post-military work was the key element of a successful transition. There was an even split on whether veterans are appreciated by the Canadian public.
Tim Black, the assistant professor in UVic's faculty of education who led the survey, said it is significant that some respondents felt a better public understanding of the military would make the move to civilian life go more smoothly.
Black also noted that over 32 per cent of those surveyed said struggling with friendships was one of their toughest issues.
"The fact that veterans reported struggling with friendships as the most commonly experienced transition issue was somewhat surprising to me," Black said in a statement. "It was also surprising to learn that the majority of those who sought help did to go a professional counsellor, which goes against the stereotype the public may have of military people not seeking professional assistance."
Forty per cent of veterans surveyed said they had to deal with some form of psychological problem that resulted from their military service.
Black will now look at the survey results in greater detail to see any further conclusions can be drawn. A final report will be issued next spring.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2007
From personal experience only, when I came home from being away for 5 months, of which 79 days were consecutive at sea, on patrol days, the transition to being home was a bit of nasty work. Granted in my specific situation, there were some additional mitigating circumstances, but it was still nasty. As a side note, after the ship returned home (I got home in March) in June, it was sometime around September when I got a call for a personal interview. The whole point of the interview was to "see how I was doing" after my long trip. Oddly I found the whole process to be of a good idea, other than I became bitter when I had to tell them that I had been back in Canada for almost 6 months by the time they got going on their project.
Just as an added after thought, this is we all know, not just restricted to armed forces personnel from one country, and certainly not just one service either.
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11-06-2007, 01:17 PM #1
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