Post War Depression
Part of a soldier's job is to fight in battle to protect the nation. During these wars, they can go through tremendous mental trauma and may carry psychological scars back home with them. This puts pressure on their day-to-day life and possibly preventing them from leading a normal, healthy and happy life.
The veterans of military services often keep painful war memories hidden deep within, which can result in depression, stress and to some extent, psychological disorders. Unable to cope with their troubled emotion, veterans may take heavy dose medications yet may not receive the appropriate positive result, which creates a vicious cycle of depression and pain.
Government Funded Therapy
Premier Steven Harper's government has taken a step forward to help the military service veterans deal with their mental trauma with hopes of living a normal life. Those who returned injured, physically or mentally, from the battlefield will now be able to go through equine therapy sponsored by the government.
Canada's central government is ready to cover the cost as a gesture to improve strained relations with veterans. The Veterans Affair Minister also confirmed this approach taken by the government and mentioned implementing the proposal nationwide so that veterans across the nation can benefit from the program.
This will help to fulfill the goal of uniting veterans across the country to help each other heal while understanding each other’s pain.
How War Horse Program Works
The objective of equine therapy for war veterans is to let the war damaged soldiers vent the pain they keep hidden within after years of serving their nation on the battlefield.
It is observed that mere medication does not help mentally scarred soldiers. It is essential that these soldiers find a medium to connect to with which they can easily relate their pain and suffering without feeling ashamed or socially banished. Through the equine therapy, veterans are given opportunity to share their feelings with the therapy horses.
Study of these veterans, along with their horses, reveals promising results of escaping their depressed state. Since horses are huge and powerful animals, anyone controlling a horse and sharing with it emotionally may be able to get hold of their own emotional disturbance. To make the best out of this therapy, Ottawa has even launched a pilot study at a cost of $25,000.
The pilot study has confirmed a considerable reduction in anger and anxiety levels in veterans after the equine therapy. Soldiers who were long term posted in Afghanistan often went through serious depression. However, a two-week war horse program changed their depressive state into a more stable state.
Benefits of Equine Therapy
Equine therapy with horses is more effective than other forms of animal therapy because horse are seen as strong animals, one which has been an important part of military operations for centuries. Moreover, a horse is associated with strength, humility, and is often seen to form immediate and affectionate bonds with humans.
Those who participated in the program benefited positively from it and could reduce their medicine intake by a considerable amount. Despite its miraculous results it has not been proven yet whether this therapy has long term benefits or not. However, federal assistance for such therapy from Harper's government is commendable, and is something the other states should take notice of and learn from.