OTTAWA, May 4, 2020 /CNW/ - The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence A. MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement today in recognition of Mental Health Week:
"May 4 to 10 is Mental Health Week in Canada: an annual national campaign that helps to shift beliefs and perceptions about mental health, and promotes behaviours that contribute to well-being.
The theme of this year's Mental Health Week is social connection – which is so fitting during this unprecedented year. As Canada and the world adjust to a new way of living, with many unknowns on the horizon, many of us are feeling anxious and disconnected. Reaching out to others is more important now than ever, as we all learn new ways to connect with each other. It is as simple as picking up the phone to check in on someone or sending a quick email. Simple acts such as these are still excellent ways to connect and maintain our day to day relationships. We applaud the Canadian Mental Health Association for its work in raising awareness and support for mental health initiatives.
"Meaningful conversation is an important way to support each other. The changes brought about by COVID-19 may cause stress and place extra strain on families. That is why we need to socially connect and ask each other: "How are you, really?" You may catch yourself casually saying, "I'm fine," even when this is not the case. In these instances, we challenge you to tell someone how you are actually feeling. The practice of physical distancing should not keep us from continuing to find ways to connect with each other.
"Mental health and wellness are more than the absence of mental illness. This is why we place as much emphasis on the mental health of our Defence Team and Veterans as we do on their physical health and fitness. Canadian Armed Forces personnel, Veterans, and their families, as well as civilian employees can access free and confidential counselling, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-268-7708 or TDD 1-800-567-5803.
"This week, we encourage members of the Defence Team, our Veterans, and their families to connect with others, ask how everyone is doing, and take care of their own well-being.
"Let's reach out and #GetReal with each other."
Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Services
Road to Mental Readiness
Strengthening the Forces: The CAF's Health Promotion Program
VAC Mental Health and Wellness
VAC Transition: Every path is different
Canadian Forces Morale & Welfare Services
Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program
Canadian Mental Health Association
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Floriane Bonneville, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Defence, Phone: 613-996-3100, [email protected]; John Embury, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, [email protected]