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Psychologist tells Lionel Desmond inquiry that racist comments led to PTSD relapse

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A psychologist who treated Cpl. Lionel Desmond for post-traumatic stress syndrome in 2011 told a fatality inquiry today that the soldier also suffered from depression, but he appeared to respond well to therapy.

Wendy Rogers, a psychologist contracted by the military, says Desmond made progress in dealing with his PTSD, but she later learned that he suffered a significant relapse in 2013 when he was subjected to racist comments about his African Nova Scotian heritage.

The inquiry is investigating why Desmond – a veteran of the war in Afghanistan – killed his wife, mother and 10-year-old daughter before killing himself in their rural Nova Scotia home in 2017.

Rogers told the inquiry today that the young infantryman was very depressed, spoke slowly and didn’t show much emotion when they first met in December 2011 while he was posted to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

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Rogers says she encouraged him to become more active, and she used prolonged exposure therapy, which teaches patients to make audio recordings about traumatic memories and then replay those recordings to help diminish their anxiety.

The psychologist says Desmond talked about the revulsion he felt when he saw the partial remains of an enemy fighter in 2007 while on combat duty in Afghanistan.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021.

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Inquiry learns about the mental decline of Lionel Desmond

Inquiry learns about the mental decline of Lionel Desmond

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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