Equine ther­apy helps vet­er­ans with PTSD

Men­tal health pro­gram gets $150,000 boost

Calgary Herald - - CITY & REGION - JVANRASSEL@CAL­GARY­HER­ALD.COM JA­SON VAN RASSEL

This is hardly an Afghanistan prob­lem

An Al­berta pro­gram that uses horses in the treat­ment of post­trau­matic stress dis­or­der in vet­er­ans re­ceived a $150,000 boost on Mon­day.

Can Praxis, which runs its equine ther­apy pro­gram on a ranch near Rocky Moun­tain House, re­ceived the do­na­tion from Wounded War­riors Canada, an On­tario-based char­ity fo­cused on vet­er­ans’ men­tal health.

The amount is a dramatic in­crease from an ini­tial $10,000 Wounded War­riors gave Can Praxis when it started up last year — a recog­ni­tion, said the char­ity’s di­rec­tor, that the pro­gram works for its par­tic­i­pants.

“We took a leap of faith as an or­ga­ni­za­tion, to see how this would work,” said Wounded War­riors Canada ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Scott Maxwell. “The feed­back has been noth­ing short of amaz­ing.”

Can Praxis was started by Steve Critchley, a 28year Cana­dian Forces vet­eran who is also trained as a me­di­a­tor, ne­go­tia­tor and fa­cil­i­ta­tor.

Critchley started Can Praxis with

SCOTT MAXWELL

Jim Mar­land, a psy­chol­o­gist with ex­pe­ri­ence in equine ther­apy.

Equine ther­apy uses horses’ re­ac­tions to hu­mans as a means of teach­ing bet­ter self-aware­ness to pro­gram par­tic­i­pants.

The is­sue of men­tal health in the Cana­dian Forces has re­cently been un­der scru­tiny, par­tic­u­larly fol­low­ing the sui­cides of four soldiers since last Novem­ber.

“The de­mand for as­sis­tance ... is in­cred­i­ble and across the coun­try,” Maxwell said, adding it af­fects cur­rent mil­i­tary per­son­nel, as well as vet­er­ans of past cam­paigns.

“This is hardly an Afghanistan prob­lem.”

Wounded War­riors’ do­na­tion al­lows vet­er­ans from across the coun­try to come to Al­berta to at­tend the Can Praxis pro­gram at no cost.

Lor­raine Hjalte/Cal­gary Herald

Re­tired Cpl. Chris­tian McEach­ern visits with Ureo 5 on Mon­day as Wounded War­riors Canada makes a do­na­tion to Can Praxis, an equine pro­gram that helps soldiers with post-traumatic stress dis­or­der.

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