OTTAWA, ON, Sept. 13, 2021 /CNW/ - The Canadian Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Community of Practice (CoP) representing Canadian researchers, clinicians, policy leads from across academia, government and intermediary organizations, and representatives of persons with lived expertise, heads into the fall with the second and third webinars in their virtual symposium series examining the issues of Military Sexual Misconduct (MSM) and Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Registration link: veteransmentalhealth.ca/about-us/events/mst-symposium/
The series kicked off on June 3 with a webinar entitled, The Evolving Discussion on Military Sexual Misconduct and Military Sexual Trauma: An Introduction, as a first step in sharing knowledge that will support actions to improve outcomes for currently-serving military members and Veterans experiencing MST.
The following two sessions, on 16 and 23 September, will look at Services and Supports for People Affected by MSM and MST. It will wrap up with a discussion on The Path Forward featuring a conversation with Vice-Admiral C.A. Baines and survivor Dr. Lori Buchart. This will be followed by a lived experience panel with Colten Skibinsky, Sam Samplonius, and Maggie Van Tassell, all of whom experienced military sexual trauma.
Dr. Margaret McKinnon, Co-Chair of the MST CoP, says the conversation is timely and necessary as public attention has become focused on the issue. "For individuals impacted by MST, this symposium will offer the opportunity to hear shared stories about the enduring impact of MST and to learn about available supports."
Fellow Co-Chair, Dr. Alexandra Heber, echoes this saying that hosting the symposium series is intended to improve understanding, enhance support and services, and inform policy around MST. Dr. Heber adds that she is encouraged by recent statements made by senior Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence leadership recognizing the critical need for change.
Elevating the voices of lived expertise through this process is a key priority for Dr. Lori Buchart, who is the Chairperson for the organization It's Not Just 700 (INJ700), a grassroots support organization for those impacted. A former reservist, Dr. Buchart says "these conversations need to happen, as this will inform the Canadian Armed Forces, so necessary changes can be co-designed. This will ensure Canada's sons and daughters are safe from misconduct and the CAF can focus on its mandate, as Canada and her allies navigate uncertain times at home and abroad."
The three-part series is supported by McMaster University and the Centre of Excellence on PTSD, both of which are members of the MST CoP,with additional funding coming from the Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) program.
ABOUT THE MST COP: The Canadian Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice (MST CoP) aims to better understand and increase awareness of the issues and gaps associated with MST, particularly in the areas of research, policy, and treatment. Members include researchers, clinicians, community and policy leaders from across Canadian universities, government departments and intermediary organizations. The goal is ultimately to improve the services and lives of members and Veterans affected by military sexual trauma.
SOURCE The Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Other Related Mental Health Conditions
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