The younger brother of a soldier whose death has raised questions about the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder says members of the military need to know they have support.
Speaking before Warrant Officer Michael McNeil’s funeral Thursday, Kevin McNeil says PTSD is a problem that is not going to stop, but the risks need to be minimized.
“There’s not going to be a stop to it. The most we can do is maybe slow it down,” McNeil said outside the armoury in Truro, N.S.
“As much money as government is going to pour into this, it’s not going to stop. What we can do is make more people aware, more families going through the same thing we are going through to talk to these soldiers, know their jobs aren’t in jeopardy and we’re here for them.”
McNeil’s death at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, northwest of Ottawa, is among four recent suicides in the military.
The Armed Forces acknowledges it will be dealing with an increased number of PTSD cases in the next decade as the stress of combat takes hold in those who have returned from the fighting in Afghanistan.
McNeil, 39, was a member 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper weighed in on the issue on Wednesday, saying everyone should encourage veterans in need to reach out to the support and systems that are there to help.
McNeil wants his brother remembered as a family man first and secondly as a hero to his country.
“He gave everything to his country,” he said.
“He was a strong man and will be missed forever.”