EDITORIAL: Military families need more help

Grieving mother's experience shows post-traumatic stress disorder needs to be given more attention

In light of the recent Wounded Warriors run, which shed important light on the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in our military veterans and active members, the continued stonewalling of Sheila Fynes is, in our view, unacceptable.

The Victoria-area mother of Cpl. Stuart Langridge is continuing to fight for answers and change for the future in the wake of her son’s suicide.

After Cpl. Langridge, who had apparently been suffering the effects of PTSD, hanged himself on March 15, 2008, the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service launched three investigations. All were botched from the start.

A report released recently by the Military Police Complaints Commission outlines the series of mistakes made by the CFNIS following Langridge’s death.

One of these mistakes was withholding a suicide note from Langridge’s parents for 14 months, for reasons that still have yet to be explained. The note, addressed to the Fynes, contained a special request for a private, family funeral as opposed to a military one.

Instead, the Fynes were kept in the dark and were not allowed control over funeral arrangements.

Canadian Forces Provost Marshal Rob Delaney said in a statement that mistakes were made in the investigation and that he is committed to learning from those mistakes.

Yet there are still no answers to why these mistakes happened, and why it has taken this long to recognize them.

Shaun and Sheila Fynes are two grieving parents that were caught in the middle of a bureaucratic mess.

Sheila has made it clear that she is willing to meet with Defence Minister Jason Kenney to discuss changes that need to be made in non-combat deaths. She has been fighting this battle for seven years now, and the government would be remiss if it did not use her knowledge and experience to improve the system.

The military, with the help of the federal government, needs to treat PTSD seriously and help stem any further related tragedies.

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