OTTAWA, Oct. 3, 2017 /CNW/ - The Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement in recognition of Mental Illness Awareness Week:
"This year, we mark Canada's 25th Mental Illness Awareness Week. It is an important week, not only for Veterans and members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), but for all Canadians. This week promotes awareness of all mental health issues, including illnesses like depression and anxiety, as well as operational stress injuries such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that affect Veterans, CAF members, and their families.
"No one should feel alone on the road to recovery. The process of learning to manage and heal mental illness is challenging, so we encourage all Canadians to talk with each other and spread the word about mental health to help themselves heal and finally end the stigma.
"We would like to thank the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health and the Canadian Mental Health Association, for the work they do in building awareness and providing Canadians with tools to manage mental illness and promote well-being.
"Through Budget 2017, Veterans Affairs Canada will provide additional supports for mental health, including investment in a new Centre of Excellence specialized in mental health and PTSD. The Centre will focus on research and best practices, knowledge transfer, and the development of tools to support treatment by health care providers across the country.
"Canada's new Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – focuses on the number one capability of the Canadian Armed Forces: the brave women and men who wear the uniform. The new defence policy ensures that our people in uniform are well-supported and resilient— physically, psychologically and socially. Additionally, the CAF will augment the Canadian Armed Forces Health System to ensure it meets the unique needs of military personnel with effective care, anywhere they serve in Canada or abroad. This includes growing the Medical Services Branch by 200 personnel.
"The policy is but one element of a joint commitment by Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence that will ensure Veterans, members of the CAF and their families have access to the mental health support they need, where and when they need it.
"We encourage all Veterans and CAF members to join the conversation on mental illness and reflect upon their own mental health, so that they can take the steps needed to optimize their well-being."
SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada
For further information: Alex Wellstead, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs, (613) 996-4649; Media Relations, Veterans Affairs Canada, Phone: 613-992-7468, [email protected]; Jordan Owens, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of National Defence, (613) 996-3100, Email: [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of National Defence, Phone: 613-996-2353, Email: [email protected]