It’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the unending echo of battle etched in the brain may affect up to 15% of soldiers by some estimates.. It can destroy families, and can leave its sufferers unable to work, addiction addled and changed.
All the soldiers who bravely speak out in this film are doing so because they want us to understand what they endure. They also want to reach out to others who are suffering in silence, and may feel the only way of ending their pain is ending their lives.
Senator and L. General (Retired) Roméo Dallaire also plays a major role in this film. For many years he has heroically spoken out in public to declare that he suffered intensely from PTSD and had attempted suicide. And today he continues to campaign on behalf of all soldiers who suffer.
War in the Mind also investigates the issue of soldier suicide. Statistics from past and present wars tell the sad story of the magnitude of this problem. Families who have felt invisible, their sons’ stories unacknowledged, tell of the impact of their loss.
Yet this film also discovers that with effective treatment suicide can be prevented. Our cameras gained unique access to a UBC/Canadian Legion program which helps soldiers undo the wiring that military training has implanted in their brains, confront their pain, and learn to live again. At the beginning of this therapeutic program one of the soldiers states:
“I have thought of committing suicide multiple times.
I’ve almost done it. You feel alone, and, once the alcohol
stops working for you, you are at the end of your rope”
After the last therapy session this same soldier was full of hope:
“I’ve seen changes in myself. Before I didn’t know if
I had a future, but now the world’s my oyster..…
so it’s a huge impact.”
A preview of this program has helped raise over $1.3M so that more soldiers can be treated.