The phrase ‘support our troops’ has become synonymous with showing appreciation and gratitude for our military veterans. They brave hostile and dangerous environments with the goal of helping to liberate others while maintaining the freedom many of us take for granted. However, the ‘support’ given usually starts and ends with the military work itself, but what happens when these heroes come back home?
Many troops have a difficult time reintegrating back into society after doing a tour and some are even affected both physically and mentally, making things even more challenging.
Martello CEO John Proctor wanted to help support troops in a real way after they came back home. “As a veteran myself, I recognized that there was a large number of my fellow veterans that were experiencing different forms of PTSD once they returned home.”
On the importance of an organization like Camp Aftermath:
“Many veterans face challenges post-service – usually related to re-integrating back into the society/community they left, securing accommodations, and dealing with issues surrounding their own mental health. Most organizations designed to deal with those mentioned challenges do not primarily focus on veterans. Camp Aftermath provides a safe environment for veterans to effectively decompress and recover.”
The role Camp Aftermath plays in a broader sense:
“Largely viewed as a hidden illness because its symptoms aren’t immediately seen or recognized, efforts that promote improved mental health – especially for veterans – become that much more important. The need for understanding and compassion is necessary; Camp Aftermath was designed as an environment where veterans can understand and be understood. A place where they feel safe to express themselves freely and open up about their fears, goals, etc. Supporting and helping to bring awareness to this type of organization is very important.”
Camp Aftermath is an organization that was founded with the objective of helping veterans by providing tools that facilitate ‘positive anchors’ in their life which they could use to counteract the negative aspects of their military experience. In conversation with Founder & Chairperson Farid Yaghini, he spoke on his motivation for developing the organization stating that “there was a lack of follow-up after programs aimed at supporting veterans and first responders.” Camp Aftermath develops a year-long program for its members that consists of three phases. The first phase is a screening process which serves as a way for both members and the organization to familiarize themselves with each other. The second phase consists of on-site volunteering and therapeutical activities with mental health experts. The final phase is a follow–up a year later to check on the progress made and reconnect.
Farid spoke further about the main challenges that the organization faces and the importance of donations and helping to spread the word about Camp Aftermath – “Since we aren’t the biggest organization we don’t necessarily get the same recognition here in Canada, which requires us to seek resources/support outside of the country. Participants in our program must have a willingness to improve themselves mentally and spiritually so it’s imperative that our marketing efforts ensure we attract the right candidates. Donations such as the one received from Martello help us cover the transportation of getting the participants to us, operational costs of the second phase of the program, and compensating the mental health experts for their time and efforts. Our long-term goal is to continue creating awareness so the right people who can benefit from our program can easily find us. We’re honoured to be able to help veterans and first responders with the long-term management of their mental anguish”.
Martello is proud that our donation through the Employee Directed Gift Program was able to support an organization such as Camp Aftermath that is so dedicated to supporting a community of givers and receivers on their journey towards mental and spiritual healing. To learn more about Camp Aftermath make sure to visit their website and check out some of the important work they’re doing both here in Canada and abroad.