Psychiatrists Applaud Military Mental Health Strategy: Welcome Emphasis on Evidence, Evaluation and Partnerships

OTTAWA, Oct. 10, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA), the national voice for Canada's 4,500 psychiatrists, welcomes the release of the Surgeon General's Mental Health Strategy.  Over the next five years this comprehensive strategy will formalize the Canadian Armed Force's (CAF) approach to addictions, suicide prevention and mental health treatment.

The CPA congratulates Surgeon General Jean-Robert Bernier for his leadership in bringing the strategy forward.  The strategy will bring CAF's mental health initiatives within an integrated framework that includes prevention, clear priorities and timelines, an evidence-based approach to assessment and treatment, performance based evaluations, and a focus on research and communications.  The plan also emphasizes education and engagement with families, communities, and primary care physicians.

"The CAF Mental Health Strategy's focus on clear performance measures and evidence-based practice, contains many of the core elements CPA considers essential to delivering effective mental health care services," said CPA President, Dr. Michael Teehan.  "Over the next decade, the military will face many challenges as individuals return from missions overseas with mental health issues.  At the CPA, we look forward to working closely with the CAF and its multidisciplinary teams to support these soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country and now find themselves struggling to cope."

"The CAF is right to take pride in its mental health initiatives which have been recognized by its NATO allies and civilian organizations," adds CPA Past President, Dr. Fiona McGregor.  One of CAF's more innovative initiatives is The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program.  Developed in 2007, this mental health training and education program increases mental health literacy and enhances resilience.  Based on the principles of sports psychology, R2MR provides individuals with specific tools for dealing with stressful situations.

Of particular interest for the CPA, is the CAF's focus on evidence-based research, education, training, and data analysis.  Lessons learned through research and leading practices in the military mental health community may benefit other populations such as police, firefighters, industry and the general public.

As one of its seven strategic priorities, the CAF is developing new partnerships with external agencies.  This September, CPA launched a Military and Veterans Section.  "By bringing together military and civilian psychiatrists who treat members of the military, veterans and their families, the section offers a unique forum for knowledge exchange on leading practices, lessons learned and perspectives between the civilian and military systems," says CPA Past President, Dr. Suzane Renaud.

SOURCE: Canadian Psychiatric Association

For further information:

Hélène Côté, Canadian Psychiatric Association
hcote@cpa-apc.org; 1-613-234-2815 (232) 613-297-5038

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