In recent years, Canadian troops have been deployed to various parts of the world to maintain peace and order as part of the government’s commitments to their allies and the United Nations. As troops return home from their tour of duty, the main focus for military and civilian social workers across Canada is the reintegration of theses individuals back into society. Many of these solders experience a combination of mental health, financial and personal problems on their path to reintegration such as substance abuse, depression, post traumatic stress disorder and even homelessness (Savisky, Illingworth and DuLaney, 2009).
Families with veterans may experience shock as soldiers return with physical injuries leading to many months of rehabilitation (Franklin,2009). Research related to social work and veteran care is sparse but researchers appear to agree that a generalist approach works best when working with this client group due to this approach’s ability to view the client in relation to their familial relationships and associations to organizations such as the Canadian military.
Franklin (2009) states that social workers are “indispensible” to veterans due to a social workers’ ability to use “person in environment perspective and their ability to solve multi-factor problems”. Research indicates the strength based perspective used in the generalist approach can help soldiers and their families to minimize stress and navigate social programs better (Savisky, Illingworth and DuLaney, 2009).
Due to the severity of the issues these soldiers face, researchers have strongly advocated for social workers to increase their skill set in order to facilitate better care of these clients (Savisky, Illingworth and DuLaney, 2009). Although this client population is small, there is an immediate need for further research and education for social workers wishing to work with these clients in Canada. . Most articles found on the subject are related to American Veteran Affairs and their policies in caring for returning soldiers.