file photo

Course to support Okanagan veterans coming to West Kelowna

The 2 day course will be open to all community members

Canadian Armed Forces Corporal Angela Ayre who is now retired knows the value of the Veteran Family Program.

The sponsored mental health first aid course is being offered in Kelowna this month to medically released veterans, RCMP and their families by Mainland B.C. Military Family Resource Centre .

Not only did Ayre complete the course’s pilot program, she is personally familiar with the tremendous challenges faced by medically released veterans.

Mental Health First Aid – Veteran Community is only one component of the new Veteran Family Program launched last April which BCMFRC delivers on behalf of Veteran Affairs Canada. Accessible through all 32 Military Family Resource Centres in Canada, the Veteran Family Program supports the health and well-being of families as they transition from military to post-service life.

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Ayre was medically released by the military after a 14-year career that started right out of high school. Up till that point, being a soldier was her identity and to be told that she could no longer put on the uniform and serve her country was devastating. Thanks to the care and support of family, friends, her military family, and health care professionals, she successfully migrated into a new and fulfilling career.

She now works as a Veteran Family Program coordinator with BCMFRC, guiding medically released veterans and family members through the oftentimes difficult transition from military to post-service life. The conditions of a medical release can range from physical ailments to mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use.

“Serving in the military is not like a regular job. Soldiers eat, breathe and sleep their job. Everything they do is closely knit. They are willing to die for the person beside them. They are operationally trained to go to war and to sacrifice,” said Ayre.

The two-day course is open to all members of the community who can contribute to supporting the veteran community. It takes place March 16 and 17, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., in the Gellatly Room of the Holiday Inn West Kelowna. Space is limited with priority given to medically released/releasing veterans and RCMP, and families. Register by March 14 by contacting veterans@bcmfrc.com.

To find out more, go to www.cafconnection.ca/Mainland-BC/Adults/Wellness/Mental-Health-First-Aid.aspx

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