-178 suicides amongst military members from 2002-2014 (outnumbers the casualties of the Afghanistan war) - Toronto Sun
- The prevalence of suicides in the first responder community is 19%. The average rate for the general population is 9.20%. - TEMA
The statistics on PTSD are shocking, but they reflect the reality of the mental health threat facing Canadian Armed Forces members and the first responder community suffering from spiritual and mental anguish caused by traumatic experiences.
Camp Aftermath seeks to provide a PTSD retreat in Costa Rica to respond to the need for positive social change to address this mental health crisis. This two-week trip focuses on local acts of volunteerism to encourage participants to rediscover their sense of purpose.
The $10,000 raised (#GoFundRoto0) will go towards the first rotation of Camp Aftermath participants. The money will be used to cover expenses for the initial set-up of the retreat and the activities offered during the inaugural curriculum. Five participants will benefit from attending Roto 0.
Camp Aftermath Board of Directors members, volunteers and our mental health expert Dr. John Whelan, who also sits on Aftermath's Advisory Commitee , will travel to Costa Rica in January 2018 for an Orientation Trip to experience the finalized Camp Aftermath itinerary. Two volunteers/participants also completed a reconnaissance itinerary in August 2017, and shared their experiences.
Camp Aftermath’s novel approach to the long-term management of PTSD through active philanthropy has attracted the attention of the mental health professional community and organizations in Canada including ProjectBe, Boots on the Ground and Movember. Dr. Whelan, a clinical psychologist with a career in the Canadian Armed Forces, firmly believes that Camp Aftermath’s special ingredient is active philanthropy: “The idea of giving back and contributing to society is a wonderful way of re-establishing a connection to the community.
The story of Camp Aftermath begins with Farid Yaghini, chairman of Aftermath Association. Farid is a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces who experienced traumatic events while serving overseas. Unlike many of his fellow servicemen and women, Farid did not develop PTSD, and mental health professionals concluded that his philanthropic deeds overseas served as “positive anchors” which helped him overcome the traumatic events he witnessed.
Camp Aftermath seeks to reproduce Farid’s positive anchors for veterans and first responders who have been through PTSD-inducing experiences. This retreat in Costa Rica will be for active armed forces members, veterans, police officers, fire servicemen and paramedics who suffer from PTSD.
Costa Rica has been chosen as the site of Camp Aftermath because, due to it being a third world country, it is easier to see the tangible results of philanthropy there than it is here in Canada. Moreover, it is a tropical paradise acclaimed in many reviews as one of the happiest places on Earth.
Camp Aftermath participants will initially go through a screening process by professionals here in Canada. They will subsequently be sent on a 14-day excursion to Costa Rica, where volunteerism in philanthropic activities will be used to help them rediscover their own potential and sense of purpose as part of their PTSD treatment. Through local charity work, Camp Aftermath participants will contribute to communities in need, and by doing so, will be exposed to experiences that will help them create “positive anchors” to supplement their individualized therapy regimes.
Camp Aftermath’s unique approach to PTSD support extends beyond the two-week retreat: the support and spirit of community created by Camp Aftermath will offer participants a chance to transfer the experiences they acquire in Costa Rica back into their own communities and continue to engage in volunteer activities to support their ongoing recovery.
You are invited to donate to Camp Aftermath’s first rotation of participants. We aim to send the initial group of servicemen and women to Costa Rica in 2018 so that they can engage in acts of volunteerism to create “positive anchors” to support their PTSD treatment. Your donation to Camp Aftermath will support a positive force for social change, committed to helping those suffering from mental and spiritual anguish to move forward with their lives. Give to our cause so that we can transform the Camp Aftermath dream into a reality, and support human need with human care.
You can stay informed on our progress and other initiatives at campaftermath.org and on Facebook , Instagram and Twitter .
Thank you for supporting Camp Aftermath!