COLE HARBOUR, N.S. – A new private clinic has opened in the Halifax area that will specifically cater to first responders and veterans who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Trauma Healing Centers plans to open 13 clinics across the country by the end of 2015. They believe their model is the first of its kind in Canada.
“It’s pretty unique what we’re doing especially with the multi-disciplinary approach,” said president Kylie Atkinson.
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The clinic on Cole Harbour Road includes space for general practitioners, counsellors, nutritionists and massage therapists. It’s being marketed as a one-stop shop for patients with PTSD.
Trevor Bungay, a former military member, is in charge of veterans relations and attracting clients to the clinic.
Bungay spent 17 years in the military at CFB Gagetown and has been on seven tours, including four in Afghanistan.
He has experienced PTSD and now, he’s reaching out to other veterans.
“I’ve been through it and I know what they’re going through,” he said. “I don’t know each individual case obviously because it varies, but at least they know there’s someone who understands and we’re here to help.”
The clinic plans to offer traditional and non-traditional treatments, including medical marijuana. They will also provide peer support counselling with other veterans who can help navigate the Veterans Affairs system.
Veteran David McCormick, who has had PTSD for six years, will be working as a peer counsellor and says the clinic can offer something not found elsewhere.
“If you went to a civilian clinic, let’s say you’re going to get that civilian mentality,” McCormick said.
Members of the clinic have been reaching out to veterans groups and the federal government in search of partnerships and collaboration. Peter Stoffer, the official opposition critic for veterans affairs, has met with them and is supportive of their venture.
However, he says it’s also an indication of the lack of support for veterans.
“When you really think about it though, private clinics would never have to open up if the government was doing their job and doing it more [in the] public sector,” Stoffer said.
The clinic will begin taking appointments next week.