Ronald Anderson's family calls for improved PTSD treatment — (CBC News)

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CBC News

Posted: Mar 03, 2014

Sister-in-law of retired solider who committed suicide says one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work

The family of a retired New Brunswick soldier who recently took his own life says more needs to be done to support veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Retired Canadian soldier Sgt. Ronald Anderson, 39, died at his home in Doaktown, N.B., on Feb. 24 — the most recent in a spate of soldier suicides believed related to post-traumatic stress disorder. (Oromocto Funeral Home)

Retired Sgt. Ronald Anderson died last week at his home in Doaktown and his father said he was suffering from PTSD.

Because Anderson was retired, his suicide will not be included in military statistics.

His father, Peter Anderson said he is “just disgusted with DND or the government.”

“The government controls DND, bottom line,” said Anderson. “Whoever is behind it, it’s a disgrace, whoever it is.”

The Andersons have another son in the military, Ryan Anderson, who also suffers from PTSD.

Mother, Maureen Anderson says she worries about him and believes more should be done to support soldiers with PTSD.

“I am afraid for him, I’m sick about it,” said Maureen Anderson. “I watch him, I just hope he doesn’t do the same thing, keeps himself busy.

“I hope they take him in base, get him working, get him doing things.”

Ryan Anderson’s wife Lisa Anderson says anyone who has served their country deserves better support.

“Doesn’t matter if you’re an active member or retired, you’re still a member and they should be helping you 125,000 per cent no matter what status you are right now,” she said. “You’ve gone, served your country, done what you’re supposed to do. Because you have a disability now, you’re just a write-off to them.”

Lisa Anderson says a one-size-fits-all approach to treating PTSD doesn’t work.

“They say there’s different levels of PTSD, but seems like there’s just one standard plan to follow,” she said. But it should be very individualized.

“The three to six months waiting period and they send you home to cope until they get you into treatment,” she said.

“That’ a big downfall. With PTSD, addictions go hand-in-hand. There’s alcohol and drugs that just compounds the problem.”

Anderson says too often, treatment is focused on prescribing pills and there isn’t as much emphasis on therapy. 

She says the whole family should be involved in a treatment plan and not just the individual.

Ronald Anderson was 39 when he died.

He served 21 years in the military and was deployed overseas seven times, including two tours of duty in Afghanistan.