Face of the day

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Today’s face of the day is Lt Col Bill Blaikie, an Afghanistan veteran, father of 3, battling with the effects of PTSD and needing treatment that is not available here, but is available in Australia.Lt Col Bill Blaikie has been forced to make a Public Appeal to raise the $42,000 needed for his treatment because he has been rejected by Veterans Affairs for support because they do not fund overseas treatment.

The President of the RSA was sympathetic but no funds were forthcoming.It may be relevant that the Head of Veterans Affairs declined to attend or send a representative to the last 1RNZIR The Originals Meeting earlier this year. Given that this was the largest group of Malaya/Malaysia/Borneo/Vietnam Veterans who meet only every two years, the response of Veterans Affairs drew much negative comment.

… isn’t it time that you and I start asking the hard questions of why not Veterans Affairs? And to the RSA, what happened to the thousands of dollars collected on each annual poppy day especially for the welfare of our Veterans?

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Bill Blaikie was a Lieutenant Colonel (New Zealand Defence Force-NZDF) and Deputy Director of Intelligence for Combined Force Command in a tour of Afghanistan in 2004.  During Bill’s career and contribution to the NZDF he found himself in some horrific situations. Bill was mentally tortured and abused in a hostage-like situation. Bill has written about this experience as part of his cathartic treatment. He was involved in a number of incidents where he believed that he would not survive to see his wife Nancy, and their three children again.  You can read more about Bill’s story here

In 2006 Bill was diagnosed with chronic complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which is recognized by Veterans Affairs New Zealand.  This is also known as Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI).

PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by any traumatic event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. In 2012 Bill had a major breakdown and twice tried to take his life. Since then he has been unable to work and has concentrated on his recovery, however unfortunately he is out of recovery options here in NZ.

There are no group therapy programs or supporting programs available in New Zealand that can help chronic PTSD sufferers from the military. Bill’s Doctor, psychiatrist and psychologist have recommended that he attend an Inpatient Trauma Program. This is based at the St John’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia, which is rated ‘gold standard’ by Australian department of Veterans Affairs. The residential programme is four weeks long with several follow up phases over a nine month period. This programme has been in place for 20 years and has had fantastic results working with people to recover from chronic PTSD. Family are invited to attend certain parts of the program over the nine months for better treatment outcomes.

Bill needs to raise $42,000 for the full treatment, accommodation and travel expenses – and we Warriors can raise that in no time at all.

The next treatment intake is in August 2016, and I know we can raise the funds needed to get Bill into it.

Bill has sacrificed so much of himself to protect and defend, and we want to help him to recover from what he has seen, heard and been exposed to.  Bill needs our help, as the One Dollar Warriors, to get his life back.

It’s Bill’s dream that once he has recovered from PTSD, he can bring the recovery programme back to NZ to assist others who are living in the nightmare also.

So come on Warriors, let’s all put our dollar forward and raise the $42,000 that Bill needs to get his life back!!!

-givealittle.co.nz 

 


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  • Woody

    I suspect that Veteran Affairs is run by front line warriors [sarc] just like Ron Marks, the RSA always has been, people who talk the talk but have never walked the walk.

    • Kendall

      Sorry. See above/below

  • R&BAvenger

    Will be contributing to this once I have access to a PC

  • Kendall

    Worse than Ron mark. VA is headed by someone who hasn’t actually served. It also is now part of vote defence, so just sucked into a small fish in a big pool. My fathers recent experience (1RNZIR original and vet of three conflicts) of VA is in my opinion piss poor, as for my experience and the way defence treated me and my depression- on your bike son that’s no excuse.
    The men and woman of the defence force are trying to do their bit, but my personal believe is that the top is all hui and no doie. 45k to fix a soldier is nothing when we give that (total cost) to one migrant in 6 months.

  • HR

    I really feel for Col. Blaikie, and I recently had the opportunity to read an advance copy of a book by Dion Jensen about PTSD. He is a Kiwi and former copper and ex soldier I know. He is really trying to help and seems to be doing great work.

    http://successforsoldiers.com

  • Dave

    Whilst I have no doubt this is a genuine case and should be funded, there needs to be a serious and appropriate policy / program developed. I have seen first hand both sides of the argument living here in a military town in Aussie, from where a lot of ex servicemen and women return to. I am certain many of the military serving in Afghanistan have experienced things they should never ever had too, and it takes its toll. However, I also see the other side, the PTSD industry is rapidly expanding and generous. Plus when our troops return from Afghanistan, they receive a massive payout from the government, so much so the local Holden dealer has a fleet of HSV’s in various colours in stock on payment day for them to go shopping, the scuttlebutt is they managed to deliver 12 HSV’s in one day just over a year ago. I have witnessed the scheme here, and we know a few ex Afghanistan vets who live off the PTSD industry, receiving ongoing and generous payments, and spend their days attending support meetings and therapy, and having the government pay for everything around the home they cannot do from property maintenance, mowing the lawns, and other personal stuff. We have worked at some of their homes, all that is required is a quote, a phone call or email, and its approved.

    • Damon Mudgway

      What happened in the past when soldiers suffered PTSD? I’m not belittling Bill’s prognosis, but stress and anxiety are part and parcel of being a soldier in combat. It’s clear he’s had professional help here in New Zealand, but he feels he needs further treatment. And what is a hostage-like situation? You’re either a hostage or you’re not.

      I hope he gets the funds he needs and wish him the best.

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