The Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative (CWWI) is a charitable organization mandated to bring the Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) technique to individuals whose lives are impacted by toxic levels of stress.
Over the last three consecutive years, the Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative has received grants from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) to teach the Transcendental Meditation technique to Canadian Veterans living with the effects of occupation stress injuries or difficulty in adjusting to civilian life.
In February 2023, Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, the Canadian Minister of Veterans Affairs, and his team met with Helen Creighton, the National Director of the Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative, to review the work of CWWI in bringing the TM program to Veterans and their family members.
The Department of National Defence (DND) has now fully funded a new grant for CWWI to teach TM to survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) who are currently serving, or who have served in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or the Department of National Defence: Community Support for Sexual Misconduct Survivors Grant Program.
The project also includes family members or support workers and will be taught in 8 Canadian cities where TM teachers have taken additional training to work with this population.
This initiative aims to bring TM, an effective, evidence-based stress-reduction technique, to those who have experienced sexual misconduct within the Defence community. Due to the trauma and negative emotions experienced as a result of suffering sexual misconduct, this population is at risk for prolonged mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTS, low self-esteem, addiction, and more.
Research has demonstrated that the TM technique is one of the most effective methodologies for reducing the above symptoms in those who have experienced sexual misconduct. Overcoming the negative effect that sexual misconduct has on one’s mental health is a critical first step in moving forward with one’s life.
Confidential quantitative surveys for self-compassion (Neff, 2011) and trait anxiety survey (Cohen, 1983) will be administered pre- and -post TM instruction.
Self-compassion is the self responding positively in times of personal struggle. In addition to decreases in stress and improved levels of self-compassion, CWWI expects results for those who have experienced sexual misconduct in the military to be similar to results of Veterans, such as:
- Reduced flashbacks and bad memories: Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011;
- Improved quality of life: Military Medicine 176 (6): 626-630, 2011;
- Decrease in insomnia: Journal of Counseling and Development 64: 212-215, 1985;
- Twice as effective as other relaxation techniques for decreasing trait anxiety: Journal of Clinical Psychology 45(6): 957–974, 1989.
The CWWI project is overseen by several Advisory Boards on which sit healthcare professionals, military members, and certified teachers of Transcendental Meditation, and employs a researcher with expertise in qualitative and quantitative data.
CWWI is working with other support groups mandated to help those affected by sexual misconduct, networking with doctors, psychologists and psychiatrists who work with this population, and reaching out to support groups.
CWWI is grateful to researchers Ann Royer, PhD, and Tanis Farish, PhD, as well as to Advisory Review Board members Dr. Raju Hajela [Major, retired], Dr. Brian Rees [Colonel, retired], and Ami Stadnick, MSc, R. Psych.
Article submitted by Helen Foster-Grimmett, Lead Instructor—Canadian Armed Forces, Veteran, Police and First Responder Outreach—Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative. This article has been adapted from the original posted on the Uncarved Blog https://theuncarvedblog.com/