By Catherine Villeneuve, The Guard –
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) launched Mental Health Week with an impressive and uplifting announcement on Monday, May 7 as they launched the Centre of Excellence on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other Mental Health Conditions in Ottawa.
In partnering with The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, VAC is ensuring that experts lead this endeavour and provide quality treatment to veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).
As the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence explained, “Our partnership with The Royal will allow us to deliver the best mental health treatment and support for Canada’s veterans and their families. Because, at the end of the day, it’s about helping veterans and military members get better. And by investing in a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and other related mental health conditions, we will be able to do research specific to military mental health and educate health professionals across the country on best practices.”
The Centre of Excellence will conduct applied research, create and share knowledge, and develop tools to support the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions that impact veterans, CAF members and their families.
This announcement comes with a dedicated $17.5 million allocated over four years to the Centre for their program, in addition to the $3 million VAC has committed the last five years to research projects designed to better understand and meet the needs of veterans and their families. This is especially good news for the 73 % of veterans who received a benefit from VAC specifically for PTSD.
“The strength of Canada’s defence depends on our people. We are committed to ensuring the long-term mental wellbeing of our Canadian Armed Forces. The Centre of Excellence will play a key role in improving treatment outcomes and recovery of members and is an important pillar to support people who protect Canada,” indicated the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost teaching and research hospitals, being home to NATO’s first research chair in military mental health as well as an Operational Stress Injury Clinic, the only one in the country located within a mental health care and research facility.
Help and resources are available 24/7 to veterans and their families by dialing 1-800-268-7708. Other support tools such as the Operational Stress Injury Social Support Program (OSISS) and the Canadian veteran-specific version of Mental Health First Aid are available. More information can be found on VAC’s website.
This post is also available in: Français (French)