Program to study ways to help soldiers transition back to civilian life

A Canada-wide research study is being launched with the aim to help members of the Canadian Armed Forces and veterans transition to civilian life.

The study, based around a public-private program based in Fredericton called Shaping Purpose, will examine the experiences of 84 forces members and veterans.

Andrew Garsch, vice-president of program delivery with Shaping Purpose, says more than a quarter of the 5,000 members who leave the forces each year suffer a loss of identity when they remove their uniform.

The study will follow the participants over the next year and track their progress.

Garsch says there will be four sessions across the country, starting with 21 individuals in Moncton, N.B., next month.

Garsch says the other sessions will be in Ontario, either Alberta or B.C., and a final location that is yet to be chosen.

Kevin McCoy, the president of Irving Shipbuilding, which helped fund the study, says as a 36-year veteran of the United States Navy he has witnessed the challenges and anxieties that can be faced when transitioning from military to civilian life.