Government of Canada applauds Royal Canadian Legion's dedication to mental health for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and military Veterans

OTTAWA, June 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Erin O'Toole, Minister of Veterans Affairs, and Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orleans, today welcomed the Royal Canadian Legion's support for ongoing investments into mental health treatments for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and military Veterans.

The Royal Canadian Legion has donated one million dollars to mental health research at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, in Ottawa, to support the creation of a brain imaging centre featuring a Positron Emission Tomography – Magnetic Resonance Imaging (PET-MRI) machine.

"We are dedicated to providing world-class care for Canadian Armed Forces personnel. I welcome and greatly appreciate this contribution from the members of the Royal Canadian Legion," said National Defence Minister Jason Kenney.

"Our Armed Forces Veterans and their families have served Canada with pride, strength and valour, and it is our duty to serve them in turn with the best possible treatments for operational stress injuries and mental health conditions," said Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O'Toole. "I applaud the Royal Canadian Legion for joining with this groundbreaking project at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. It is heartening to know that Legion members from coast to coast to coast have contributed so generously to this program and that the Government of Canada, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, is committed to the program."

"The Royal Ottawa Hospital is a world-class facility and a leader in mental health treatments, and I am very proud that Armed Forces personnel, military Veterans and their families will soon be able to benefit from the use of the PET-MRI machine in the heart of Canada's capital," said Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament for Ottawa–Orleans, during a visit to Legion Branch 632 in his community.

The Legion donation follows the Government of Canada's announcement, in November 2014, that DND and the CAF will commit millions of dollars to work with civilian partners to acquire access to specialized brain-imaging technology to improve Canadian understanding of mental illness, enable further research in diagnosis and treatment, and help improve treatment for CAF members and military Veterans.

The November 2014 announcement built upon the Government of Canada's longstanding commitment to researching and developing the use of brain-imaging technology in diagnosing and treating operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder. For an example of this groundbreaking research, view the TED Talk by Dr. Margot Taylor, Director for Functional Neuroimaging and Diagnostic Imaging at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where she describes her team's research at the request of Defence Research and Development Canada.

Veterans Affairs Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence are dedicated to providing mental health care to CAF personnel, military Veterans and their families whenever and wherever they need it. If a Canadian Armed Forces member, Veteran or family member ever requires access to mental health care, they can speak with a mental health professional 24 hours a day, every day of the year by calling 1-800-268-7708.

For a list of the 27 mental health clinics and 31 integrated personal support centres, please visit


SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

For further information: Kristine Sims, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, 613-996-4649; Lauren Armstrong, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Defence, 613-996-3100; Royal Galipeau, Member of Parliament, Ottawa-Orleans, 613-995-1800


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