A UBC program that assists former members of the Canadian military make the transition back to civilian life is expanding into a Canada-wide non-profit organization. The new organization – called the Veterans Transition Network – has been established with $1.45 million in donations from the Royal Canadian Legion, Veterans Affairs Canada, True Patriot Love, and Wounded Warriors as part of UBC’s start an evolution campaign. It will deliver the Veterans Transition Program, which was established at UBC in 1999 and is the only program of its kind in Canada.
Marvin Westwood is a professor in the Faculty of Education at UBC and one of the founders of the program. “Soldiers returning from service face complex issues and require multiple layers of support,” he says. “This is one of the best examples of the community, postsecondary and troops working together to provide an established treatment program that will help modern day veterans.”
Created in 1999 with support from the Legion BC/Yukon Command, the Veterans Transition Program is a group-based program designed to help men and women returning from military service successfully transition to productive civilian life. Developed by UBC psychologists and medical experts, the program helps veterans deal with operational stress injuries so that they can regain a healthy and full life.
In a professionally facilitated group setting, the soldiers help one another to identify and remove or reduce the barriers – trauma symptoms, depression and low self-esteem – that are preventing them from making a successful transition to civilian life. More than 275 veterans have participated in the Veterans Transition Program and the goal is to treat thousands more across Canada.