Catching Up With the News

Cadets Do It Again!

The annual Regional Undergraduate Student Paper Competition of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) was held last Tuesday night at the University of Ottawa. Five teams competed that night, representing the University of Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, Queen’s University, and RMC. I am pleased to report that OCdt A.J. McGee and OCdt Jeff Pollard won the competition for their 4th-year project presentation, entitled “Multiple Stage Linear Mass Accelerator”. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering would like to congratulate the students on their well-deserved achievement. Well done!

La compétition annuelle régionale de l’IEEE pour les projets d’étudiants de premier cycle a eu lieu mardi soir à l’Universitéd’Ottawa. Cinq équipes y ont participé, représentant l’Université d’Ottawa, Carleton University, Algonquin College, Queen’s University et le CMR. Il me fait plaisir de vous annoncer que les Élofs A.J. McGee et Jeff Pollard ont remporté le premier prix pour leur présentation intitulée « Multiple Stage Linear Mass Accelerator ». Le Département de génie électrique et de génie informatique tient à féliciter ces étudiants pour leur victoire bien méritée. Chapeau!

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Mental Health Screening in the Workplace

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret`d) Peter Bradley, Royal Military College psychology professor has 33 years in the Canadian Forces and 13 years on the RMC faculty. Peter Bradley recently retired from the Canadian Forces (CF) as a Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) in the Personnel Selection Branch.

Prior to enrolling in the CF in 1971, Peter completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a minor in Psychology from the University of Prince Edward Island. Bradley specializes in moral psychology and combat psychology, his research on the impact of military culture in ethical decision-making and the mental health of snipers. The Canadian military today, Bradley stated, has reached four conclusions about mental illness:

1. Operational stress injury is an occupational health hazard for the military.

2. Many stress casualties can be treated and returned to work.

3. The potential for stress injury increases with the amount of combat exposure.

4. Symptoms do not generally appear until more than three months after soldiers return to Canada.

The military administers personality tests for entry-level positions (i.e. at the recruiting office), while more rigorous mental health screening occurs for special employment (e.g. snipers, submarines). “The screening that we do at the front end to take people into the military is mostly…based on physical and cognitive attributes,” said Bradley.

“The test that you get at the recruiting centre is largely a test of learning ability – it’s an IQ test, essentially. Then we send them to a doctor to make sure that you’ve got all the physical attributes that you need to do the physical part of the job. So we don’t do mental health screening per se; there’s no test administered until you get into that more specialized employment.”

Screening soldiers before and after deployments lies at the heart of CF mental health policy. “Not to get too carried away with myself,” said Bradley, “but I think a good part of why we’re doing that is because we have a social responsibility to our people. When we take young men and women into the military and put them into harm’s way, we know that some of them are going to be affected by this. It’s an occupational hazard, and so we have a social responsibility to minimize those hazards as much as possible. And if they do get affected by it, then we introduce some treatments.”

Bradley showed the audience statistical information on the mental health of soldiers in war zones and concluded that snipers were generally more troubled by combat experience than other soldiers because they tended to have more of it. He said there is still a certain stigma in the military towards accessing mental health services, but closed with a significant quote from World War II general Omar Bradley (no relation): “For unless one values the lives of his soldiers and is tormented by their ordeals, he is unfit to command.”    Ref: