RIVERSIDE-ALBERT, NB – A New Brunswick war veteran is getting treatment for Post-Traumatic Street Disorder without having to leave his own home.
Keith Steeves returned from active duty in war-torn Bosnia in 1993. From that point on, his life was crippled by symptoms of PTSD.
“I had some pretty bad nightmares, trouble sleeping, a little bit on anger issues, drinking issues,” Steeves said in an interview with Global News.
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It took over a decade, but Steeves was diagnosed with PTSD and is now getting treatment. But his treatment is coming through a computer screen.
Steeves goes to the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre, dials into a video conference line through Horizon Health’s Telehealth Program, and speaks to his psychiatrist or clinical nurse at the Operational Stress Injury Clinic in Fredericton.
The video conference line is secure, so Steeves can be completely open about his feelings.
“I think it’s great technology.You can sit here in confidence and carry on with your doctor and deal with the issues without having to worry about confidentiality or anything like that,” Steeves said.
Phyllis Hudson is a nurse at the Albert County Health and Wellness Centre and coordinates the program.
“I think it’s been very helpful for Keith, just the convenience of only having to travel 20 minutes versus a two-hour drive to Fredericton has been very convenient for him,” she said.
The Telehealth Program was launched in Riverside-Albert in 2006 and is available for all patients, not just veterans. But the OSI clinic in Fredericton said similar programs are available for veterans across Atlantic Canada, including Halifax.
Now, with a little help from technology, war veterans in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are accessing treatment without having to leave the security of home.
Keith said the treatments are paid off for by Veterans Affairs Canada. But he said he needed to be the one to seek out help himself.
“If you want help I think it’s out there.”