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FormerHorseGuard said:Have some questions, are there support groups at the Res Units sort of like AA meetings where they can go and talk to others who have been there and can help each other get the coping skills they need? Do Reg Force bases have these sort of groups ? Are RES troops welcome to attend, I just want to know so in case a friend needs soem help I know where to point them.
Sun Media, 2 Jul 13A new study found 13.5% of Canadian Forces soldiers deployed to Afghanistan returned home with mental health issues.
Researchers studied a sample size of 2,014 soldiers deployed from North America and Europe between 2001-08 and found post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the most common mental illness (8%) followed by depression (6.3%).
Soldiers deployed to particularly dangerous areas in Afghanistan were found to have a higher risk of mental health issues, the study found. A deployment to Kandahar was found to increase the risk almost six times compared to deployment in the United Arab Emirates or Arabian Gulf, the study says.
Canadian Forces members with lower ranks were also more likely to have mental health problems, according to the study, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The study's authors hope the findings can be used to help better treat soldiers and veterans suffering from mental health disorders ....
DND/CF Info-machine, 9 Jul 13Letter to the Editor: New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Red Deer Advocate, St. John’s Telegram, Halifax Chronicle-Herald, Waterloo Region Record, Ottawa Citizen, National Post, Montreal Gazette, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, Windsor Star, Regina Leader-Post, Edmonton Journal, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Sun, Edmonton Sun, Kingston Whig-Standard, Globe & Mail, Le Devoir, Le Voix de l’Est, Le Droit
To the Editor:
There has been widespread discussion about the recently published Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) study entitled Deployment-Related Mental Disorders Among Canadian Forces Personnel Deployed in Support of the Mission in Afghanistan, 2001-2008.
This scientifically-rigorous study is the most comprehensive and accurate to date in helping guide mental health program enhancements. As in civilian society, however, we know that not all our colleagues suffering mental disorders have yet sought care. This is why the Defence Department invests so heavily in health surveillance and in measures to reduce stigma. The result has been stigma reduction among CAF members to a level below that of our closest allies, and much lower than among Canadians generally.
The Canadian Forces Health Services are also conducting several complementary studies to better understand the mental health impact of military operations. These include a large survey with Statistics Canada to assess illness among those who have not yet sought care.
One of the CAF's many leading-edge initiatives launched in 2009 is the 'Road to Mental Readiness' mental health education, awareness, and skills training program. It was specifically designed with the collaboration of serving operational personnel, veterans, and family members to increase mental resilience, enhance the ability of CAF members and their families to recognize distress in themselves and others, and assist them in accessing care.
These investments reflect the very high priority placed on mental health by the Government and by CAF leaders. Last year, Minister MacKay increased the CAF mental health budget by $11.4 million, bringing it to $50 million a year. These resources permit us to further enhance our comprehensive multi-disciplinary mental health system, which is already considered a model by Canadian and allied health authorities and has had the highest ratio of mental health workers to population in NATO.
The Canadian Forces Health Services will continue to apply the best scientific methods to optimize CAF programs and to provide our members the best possible health care.
Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier MD
How timely - we now have an updated version current as of 3 Sept 13, attached in English and French.milnews.ca said:Jean-Rodrigue Paré, International Affairs, Trade and Finance Division, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and the Mental Health of Military Personnel and Veterans, Publication No. 2011-97-E, Parliamentary Information and Research Service, Library of Parliament, 14 October 2011
1.1 The Human Cost of Military Operations
1.2 The Social and Public Issue
2 What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
2.1 Nature of the Disorder and Diagnosis
2.2 From “Shell Shock” to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
2.3 Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Today
2.4 The Causes of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
2.5 The Link Between Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and Suicide
2.6 The Prevalence of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Military Members and Veterans
2.6.1 United States
2.6.3 United Kingdom
3 Operational Stress Injuries in Canadian Military Members and Veterans
3.1 From Military Member to Veteran: The Division of Responsibilities
3.2 Operational Stress in Military Personnel
3.3 Post-operational Stress in Veterans
3.4 The Risk Associated with Operational Stress Injuries: From Absenteeism to Suicide
4 Looking to the Future
4.1 Scope of the Problem
4.2 The Current Capacity of Veterans Affairs Canada
4.3 Monitoring of Veterans
Many family doctors may not know how to assess post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in patients, according to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
The article, which appears in Monday’s issue of the journal, also offers practical advice for family physicians dealing with patients who are veterans.
The advice comes on the heels of four PTSD-linked suicides of Canadian soldiers within the span of a week. The apparent rash of deaths has prompted Canadian veterans suffering from PTSD — an anxiety disorder caused from witnessing a traumatic event — to share their stories and plead for more federal dollars to help current and former soldiers with mental illnesses.
Author Allison Crawford, from the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, noted in her piece that there’s “no clear evidence of an elevated risk of mental health problems related to military deployment per se,” but that patients exposed to traumatic events in the military should be screened for PTSD. She added that many patients “will not spontaneously offer this information.”
She said veterans must be specifically asked about nightmares, feelings of detachment, whether they’re deliberately avoiding thoughts about upsetting events, and whether they’re easily startled.
For patients to be diagnosed with PTSD, they must be reliving traumatic events, avoiding things that trigger negative memories, viewing events in a negative light and experiencing altered behaviour, such as irritability or sleep disturbance, for more than a month. Crawford noted that the majority of patients suffering with PTSD (79 to 88 per cent) also suffer from depression, anxiety or substance abuse and should be screened for these conditions.
In the article, Crawford advised that family physicians who treat veterans should refer patients with PTSD for psychological interventions including behavioural therapies that address negative thinking, and exposure therapies that let patients relive aspects of traumatic events. Drugs can also be prescribed if therapy is not effective or if patients refuse to go ....
Wow. Talk about a generalization. I would argue that you're wrong, since family physicians provide the majority of primary mental health care in Canada. Most communities do not have the depth or breadth of mental health resources that we have in the CAF, so most FPs have to manage the common conditions without the benefit of consulting a psychiatrist.Rider Pride said:I would argue many family physicians have difficulty will all aspects of mental illness. In my opinion; Coupled with the lack of knowledge towards the nature of military service and the unwillingness of the patients to disclose, the average family doctor would find it extremely challenging to recognize and properly address the issue.
.... this government has invested record amounts in the mental health of our veterans and soldiers. Canada has some of the most developed programs in mental health for people in the armed forces in the entire world. Obviously, we are concerned about individual cases and express our deep sympathies to those involved. What I think remains very important is that our military people should be aware that mental health challenges are very real for people throughout society, including in the military. Supports are there, and we encourage those who need support to come forward.
.... Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those who have suffered and to the families who have suffered in these instances. With that being said, we do take the issue very seriously. We are reviewing whether further enhancements are needed to ensure that the armed forces are responding to the needs of its members and veterans .... We will continue to make this a priority, because that is entirely appropriate. What she and the members of her party could do is start supporting the efforts that we have made to support our men and women in uniform and our veterans. That would certainly be a welcome change. I think everybody would appreciate that.
.... our government has made substantial investments to support Canada's veterans, including almost $5 billion in new additional dollars since taking office. This funding has been put toward improved financial benefits, world-class rehabilitation, and tuition costs to help veterans transition to civilian life. While our government is making improvements to veterans' benefits, the Liberals and the NDP have voted against this new funding for mental health treatment, financial support, and home care services .... our government has created 600 new points of service across the country to assist Canadian veterans. Canadian veterans have access to 17 operational stress injury clinics across Canada to help them rehabilitate from service injury. Critically injured veterans do not have to drive to a district office. Our government will send a registered nurse or a case manager to visit them in the comfort of their own home. Veterans who are seriously injured can count on their government to shovel their driveways, clean their homes, and cut their grass so they can remain in their homes comfortably, with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
.... and gets told by the Speaker there'll time to fit in some debate on the issue down the road..... We do know that the number of mental health professionals in the Canadian Forces has remained constant since about 2008, despite the urgent and growing need for mental health services to our Canadian Forces veterans of Afghanistan and other conflicts. We have a problem, a bottleneck, in failing to fill these positions. We have had 50 boards of inquiry into suicides in the military that have gone without completion since 2008. We have had a spate of suicides in the last couple of months that have caused shock to the national consciousness. We have further statements on positions that are available to be filled which have not been filled. The current Surgeon General said that in November 2012 over 200 applicants were waiting to fill vacant positions, yet we have seen no action on this .... we want an opportunity for hon. members to speak to this issue and offer their opinions as to what might be done. This is an urgent and serious concern for Canadian Forces members and their families. We need to determine ways to move forward in addressing the mental health needs of the Canadian Armed Forces ....
http://www2.macleans.ca/2014/01/27/nicholson-says-dnd-reviewing-further-mental-health-improvements-mum-on-details/Nicholson says DND reviewing further mental health improvements; mum on details
27 January 2014
OTTAWA – Canada’s military ombudsman and Opposition MPs are both asking why National Defence is just getting around to hiring urgently needed mental health professionals some 18 months after it promised to do so.
A lack of available psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and addiction counsellors has dogged the department for years, but a recent bout of military suicides — as many as 10 in the last two months — has thrust the shortfall into the spotlight.
“What will it take for people to show a greater sense of urgency?” asked Canadian Forces ombudsman Pierre Daigle, who blasted the government for failing to hire enough professionals in time to handle a mushrooming caseload.
“I know folks on the medical side; they want these people. What else do you need? If the minister says, ‘I’m giving you the money to hire people’ and you are still fiddling (with) the bureaucracy. I really don’t understand it.”
In the House of Commons, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to make the suicide crisis a personal priority. Harper responded by repeating his plea for those who are struggling to come forward for help.
Soldiers and their families say that when they do, they sometimes have to wait for as long as two years for help.
Mental health services have been a priority for the department, but the government is also “reviewing whether further enhancements are needed,” said Defence Minister Rob Nicholson. He did not elaborate.
“We do take the issue very seriously,” Nicholson told the House.
Marie-Helene Brisson, a spokeswoman for National Defence, said on the weekend that the department is in the process of hiring as many 54 extra staff members. Brisson would not say when they might be available.
However, Daigle pointed out in a 2012 report that the military’s medical branch has never reached its goal of 447 mental health workers and the latest statistics show the numbers have barely budged since the government promised action.
The department has just 388 mental health staff members across the country, nine more than in September 2012.
“We are witnessing an urgent and growing need for better access to mental health services for Canadian Forces members, but the hiring of mental health professionals has been stymied by internal red-tape and budget cuts,” said NDP defence critic Jack Harris.
Harris requested an emergency debate in the Commons to address the shortage, but was unable to get the necessary support.
“Under the Conservatives we are not meeting the needs of the military.”
A series of defence sources told The Canadian Press over the weekend that the bottleneck is the result of a stifling bureaucratic process that creates a disincentive to hire staff.
Since a federal hiring freeze was imposed in 2010, the system has become even worse.
Funding that was earmarked to pay for the unfilled positions has been turned back to the department and eventually the federal treasury each year as surplus funds.
The benchmark of nearly 450 was established a dozen years ago, before Canada saw major combat in Kandahar, and Daigle said it’s entirely possible that even more staff members and experts are now necessary.
Frustration is building within the military, said Daigle, who challenged the Harper government to deal with the bottleneck once and for all.
“It’s really in the political arena,” he said.
“You really need to put action to words. You’ve put money there, now show me — by the week, the month — how many people you’ve hired.”