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Mental Health and the Canadian Forces - Recent Articles

medicineman

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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.

If I may be so bold, the answer is likely because there is also a distinct lack of them in the civilian sector as well.  I have a really hard time getting folks that need psychiatrists/psychologists seen in a timely fashion without having to send them to the ER sometimes with the hope they'll get formed.  There aren't enough residency positions graduating each year, nobody wants to work in UngaBungaland  (except on a fixed return of service contract) because they want to work in urban areas and the goverments don't have the stones to force folks into underserviced areas because these people will just plain leave.  Couple all that with the fact that most of the bases that need the most help aren't in the most desirable locales either, you're going to have a hard time getting people on board...especially when money, the only attractant for some of those areas, is in short supply.

:2c:

MM
 

McG

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Analysis: Why Ottawa ignored the military's PTSD epidemic
Even military planners had no idea of the scope of mental problems facing vets. But they should have
Brian Stewart, CBC News
06 February 2014

It is an oddity of wars that those in charge often miss the obvious, which helps explain Canada's astonishing failure to grasp the full mental toll of our long involvement in Afghanistan.

The reality that both official Ottawa and our military planners have been slow to confront is that the psychological after-effects of war don't decrease after a mission ends. To the contrary they can increase year by year, and last lifetimes.

"I don't think we had any idea of the scale and scope of what the impact would be," retired general Rick Hillier recently told CBC radio in a discussion about the recent spate of military suicides and psychological trauma. "I truly do not."

This is a tellingly blunt assessment of leadership failure from the officer who both commanded troops in Afghanistan and later was the chief of defence staff when Canada took on one of the toughest roles in the whole war — controlling the Taliban heartland in Kandahar.

Hillier has now called for a public inquiry to sort out just why we're failing vets with mental health problems, a call that follows a wave of anger that has been building among veterans and their supporters.

Beyond the always shocking effect of military suicides there's a growing public perception that the Stephen Harper government hasn't cared enough during a period of budget cutting and restraint about the well-being and morale of former soldiers, many of whom suffer from the debilitating effects of trauma, including PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

As Hillier noted, perception can quickly become reality, which would be an ominous turnaround for Conservatives who always claimed a pro-military aura.

"This is beyond the medical issue," Hillier said. "I think that many of our young men and women have lost confidence in our country to support them."

From my own conversations with many veterans I'd say the cynicism goes well beyond the young, and far beyond Afghanistan.

Some of the angriest voices against the Veterans Affairs bureaucracy come from veterans of the Korea War, now in their 80s, and from middle-aged former peacekeepers who saw too much inhuman conflict while abroad.

There's a strong sense among those who have seen war up close that the rest of us "just don't get" what it does to soldiers, and that the politicians who send troops into combat get it least of all.

Whether that's true or not, an inquiry might uncover why there has been such an unaccountable delay in dealing with the psychological effects of recent conflicts.

It's all the more surprising given that the mental wounds of war have been studied since the First World War, and intensely examined since Vietnam.

We knew a decade ago that a great many of our soldiers were going to experience combat in Afghanistan, and over time close to 40,000 served there.

Yet somehow we didn't anticipate that many thousands would come back suffering mental health disorders?

Even today we've no clear picture of how many, whether still serving or veterans, have psychological wounds from severe depression or full-scale PTSD.

The only government estimate — of almost 15 per cent of those who served — is based on studies prior to 2009, which would be prior to several of the hardest years of our counter-insurgency operations.

Most ominous still is the finding nearly buried in the same study that notes that the incidence of mental injuries can double with passing years — meaning that  fully 30 per cent of those involved in combat operations may need significant psychological and other support over many years.

Add to that the fact that we have only belatedly acknowledged that many of the 120,000 soldiers who served as UN peacekeepers in atrocity-ridden conflict zones have trauma rates as high as Afghan vets.

At the same time, while the number of those needing help has grown, bureaucratic turf wars and budgetary feuds seem to have delayed the hiring of needed psychiatrists and mental health professionals.

The government is only now scrambling to hire an extra 54 specialists that the Defence Department called for almost 11 years ago.

According to a recent Canadian Press report, the government was reminded by the Canadian Forces ombudsman two years ago that the overall goal of 447 mental health specialists was far from met. Still, by last month the shortfall persisted.

The delay in so critical an area seems due not to a shortage of funds, for the government set aside $11 million, but rather a reluctance to hire during a period when deficit-fighting ruled the bureaucratic mindset.

For several years now, DND has, to please the government, spent several billion dollars less than it has been granted by Parliament. The whole bureaucracy has underspent $10 billion over the past three years to help meet deficit reduction targets.

It's a vicious cycle as those who go to war feel extra mental stress when they sense their sacrifice is unappreciated, and their cause diminished by post-war indifference.

And it doesn't help when Canadians talk a bold game about "supporting the troops" but don't deliver.

Only three months ago, the military ombudsman reported that many military families were still housed in dilapidated, too-small mould-infested base housing and were feeling huge stress because of worries about constant family moves and its effects on their children.

"Unlike their American counterparts" the report notes, our service families even find getting family medical care a challenge. "Military families go through protracted periods of bouncing from one waiting list to the next, rarely making it to the top."

The picture is not all negative, and even critics agree some programs for veterans and current soldiers have improved.

But that doesn't alter the fact that the kind of all-out, well-focused programs to support those who've paid a high psychological price already seems missing.

And even today Ottawa seems confused, almost dazed, as the criticism mounts.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/why-ottawa-ignored-the-military-s-ptsd-epidemic-1.2524958
 

McG

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This may be the first article that gets the message right and without politicizing it.
Canadian Forces: Holding the line on mental health
Lewis MacKenzie
The Globe and Mail
14 February 2014

The unfortunate cluster of suicides by Canadian Forces personnel, serving and retired, bracketing the recent Christmas break, understandably drew a good deal of media attention – almost all of it negative. Much of the discussion focused on the lack of military support for the victims, on inappropriate compulsory release procedures and on the stigma associated with mental illness.

When it is noted that the suicide rate in the Canadian Forces has been consistent over the past decade, and even a bit lower this past year, it sounds terribly clinical. We are talking about people, not numbers, and one suicide is one too many. However, with a bit of context, numbers can be telling.

While an objective of zero suicides is admirable, it ignores that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the Canadian male population between the ages of 15 and 34, and that the suicide rate for Canadian males is highest between the ages of 40 and 59, according to Statistics Canada. Those two categories comprehensively cover the age distribution of the Canadian Forces personnel.

Now, consider that the suicide rate in the U.S. military has doubled over the same 10-year period. Considering the dramatic increase in the pace of operations for Canadian Forces personnel over the past 10 years, surely it follows that suicides should have risen dramatically. But they didn’t. Could that be suggesting that the Forces’ mental-health strategy and treatments are actually working? Probably.

With regard to stigma, it’s interesting to note the difference in attitude between the military and civilian communities. Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found that just 49 per cent of the general population would socialize with a friend who had a serious mental illness. By contrast, just 6 per cent of military personnel returning from Afghanistan indicated that they would think less of someone receiving mental health care, according to the Armed Forces. Our soldiers may have something to teach us about tolerance and understanding.

Much has been made about compulsory release procedures, suggesting that injured personnel are dumped on the street by an uncaring military that insists on retaining only fit individuals capable of deploying on short notice. The reality is that there are currently more than 2,000 non-deployable personnel posted to the CAF’s Joint Personnel Support Unit. While there, they undergo evaluation and treatment according to their illness or disability. Most will have four years of preparation to transition to civilian life or to return to operational duty. Since 2009, about 1,300 personnel have done just that under the Return to Work program.

Unfortunately, there is a knee-jerk reaction when the words “Afghanistan” and “suicide” appear in the same sentence. The assumption is often that war-zone service has caused post-traumatic stress disorder and driven an individual to kill himself or herself. But the triggers are numerous, and war-zone exposure is not at the top of the list. Divorce, loss of a loved one and loss of a job are more likely factors.

According to the experts, the greatest hurdle to preventing suicide is getting the individual to recognize that they have a mental-health problem. Investigations have determined that that the vast majority of soldiers committing suicide were not receiving care. The mental illness went unidentified by fellow soldiers, leadership and medical professionals and the opportunity for treatment was missed. These results mirror similar findings in the civilian world

There are 26 specialty medical health clinics and seven operational stress support centres across the country. Are they short of staff? Yes. Is shortage of funds the problem? No. There is much competition for mental-health experts (Canada is third in the world for the consumption of anti-depression drugs) and by its nature the military is parked in some pretty isolated areas. That unattractive geography combined with the unreasonable time taken to work a hiring through the red tape within Public Works puts the military at a distinct disadvantage in the competition.

Unfortunately, no program dedicated to eliminating suicide will attain perfection. More must be done, but the fact that our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and both the Canadian and American Psychiatric Associations have complimented our military’s mental-health program should be reassuring, in contrast to the innuendo so prevalent in some media.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/canadian-forces-holding-the-line-on-mental-health/article16892831/
 

Armymedic

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From Murry Brewster and Macleans magazine:

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/depression-a-huge-concern-says-military-surgeon-general/

 

McG

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Invisible Wounds
Crisis in the military

Ashley Terry, Global News

(Video at link)

Canadian soldiers have officially left Afghanistan. But for many men and women in the Canadian Forces, an invisible war still rages.

Global News spoke with five current and former members of the Canadian Forces, each with post-traumatic stress disorder.

What they revealed amounts to a crisis in the military.

They all described debilitating injuries and difficulty in getting treatment, either initially or long-term.

Some soldiers said stigma was to blame, while others blamed systemic dysfunction in the military. Doctors blamed the media and military culture.

While the stories highlight a complicated reality for those dealing with PTSD, one thing is certain: soldiers are having trouble getting the help they need.

Soldiers at war with PTSD

According to data from Veterans Affairs obtained (after weeks of repeated requests) by Global News, psychiatric conditions are the second-most common of all causes of disability claims among those who served in Afghanistan.

The three most common mental health ailments in the military, according to a senior psychiatrist with the Canadian Forces, are depression, PTSD and substance abuse.

Psychiatric conditions such as these accounted for a total of 3,424 disability claims related to service in Afghanistan (Some vets made multiple claims, and Veterans Affairs could not tell Global News how many people in total made claims for these conditions).

For context, around 40,000 Canadian troops served in Afghanistan and 158 died.

More than 80 per cent of the time, soldiers have more than one diagnosis, and the three most common conditions often intersect.

PTSD, a disorder brought on by trauma, can manifest itself in different ways, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, anger or mood disorders, to name a few.

Some soldiers in this series describe an endless struggle with these symptoms while others have emerged from the darkness of PTSD. They all told Global News they were speaking out to encourage others to do so.

Death on the homefront

These soldiers spoke out as a spate of soldier suicides made headlines, forcing Canadians to acknowledge the damage the war in Afghanistan inflicted on those who made it home.

A tense confrontation in January between Minister of Veterans Affairs Julian Fantino and veterans over the closing of office locations highlighted the disconnect between the two sides.

At the same time, the Canadian government was reviewing the New Veteran’s Charter, a document that came into force in 2006 and fundamentally changed the way veterans were compensated.

It meant that soldiers being medically released from the military, including those with PTSD, would receive lump sum payments instead of a pension. Many of these veterans were also depressed, addicted to alcohol or drugs, or suicidal.

As the crisis has taken hold among veterans, overall federal funding has been cut. Meanwhile, funding for programs designed to honour veterans has increased by double digits.

Some soldiers in the series tried to take their own lives, while others watched their marriages or their finances (or both) fall apart. Some struggled with addiction. Here are their stories.
http://globalnews.ca/invisible-wounds/1257394/invisible-wounds

The interviews:
 

McG

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Another study with conclusions that bring no surprises ... particularly in that last line of the article.
History of mental illness increases PTSD risk: study
Elizabeth Payne, Post Media News
Calgary Herald
21 Aug 2014

Having a history of mental illness puts soldiers at a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder after a combat mission, new Canadian research suggests. The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, was based on postdeployment interviews with more than 16,000 Canadian Forces members who served in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2012. It found that 10.2 per cent of those deployed to Afghanistan had at least one common mental health problem after returning, including depression and PTSD.

The researchers found a strong correlation between those who had previously been treated for mental health issues and post-deployment mental health problems, including PTSD. Studies of U.S. military personnel have found a similar link, but the Canadian report's authors say it would be wrong to screen military personnel based on previous mental health treatment, because many people who had previously sought mental health treatment "were in good post-deployment mental health.

"Thus selecting people for deployment on this basis alone would result in the unnecessary exclusion of many people who would do well."

The authors suggested that people seen as high risk might be offered interventions to prevent relapse before, during and after deployment. "The strong correlation between current mental health care and post deployment mental health problems simply demonstrates that people in care are there for a good reason."

The authors said additional research should be done to better understand why some military personnel with risk factors, including a history of mental health problems, did well after deployment to Afghanistan while others did not.

The Canadian findings differ from previous U.S. and U.K. studies in significant ways. Canadian reservists, according to the research, are at no greater risk of PTSD and other mental health problems than regular forces - a phenomenon identified in U.S. and British research. The Canadian study also found longer or multiple deployments did not appear to be risk factors. Francophones were less likely than anglophones to suffer from PTSD and other post-deployment mental health problems, in contrast to civilian data that, according to the authors, suggests "if anything, worse mental health for francophones in Canada."

Exposure to combat had a strong correlation to later mental health problems.
 

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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawa-pledges-200-million-to-aid-veterans-with-mental-health-issues/article21718230/

Ottawa pledges $200-million to aid veterans with mental health issues

Jane Taber and Shawn McCarthy

HALIFAX and OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail, Published Sunday, Nov. 23 2014

The federal government is spending $200-million over five years to help veterans suffering from operational stress issues, including a new facility in Halifax that will assess and treat those with the mental health disorder.

Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino, Defence Minister‎ Rob Nicholson and Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced the package of measures Sunday in Halifax, where politicians, senior military officials and security experts from around the world are meeting for an annual security forum.

The veterans affairs minister says $1.1 billion in funds that was unspent over seven years will be "recycled" back into other programs. Julian Fantino says no veterans have been disadvantaged by the money going unused.

The Conservative government has been criticized by veterans groups for its handling of mental health issues in the forces and among ex-military personnel. Some 128 members of regular forces and 32 reservists have committed suicide in the past decade.

Since the Conservatives took power in 2006, Veterans Affairs Canada has failed to spend $1.13-billion in funds that were budgeted for programs, documents tabled in the House of Commons last week revealed. Roughly one-third of the lapsed funds were handed back between 2011 and 2013 when the government was engaged in a massive deficit-cutting drive.

One veterans’ advocate welcomed the funding but was skeptical of the government’s commitment to the promised programs.

“We’re pleased that they’re putting money into the program,” said Michael Blais, founder of the Canadian Veterans Advocacy group. “Any money applied to mental health, considering the crisis that is going on, is positive. However, $200-million over five years amounts to $40-million a year and when you see all that they are promising in terms of programs, I don’t think that $40-million is going to fund it.

“So I tend to think this is another headline without substance,” he said.

Similarly, NDP veterans affairs critic Peter Stoffer said the government has to follow through and hire the people and spend the money that is being promised, noting the $1-billion in budgeted funding that was allowed to lapse in recent years.

“To give the government credit: they are talking about it; they have made this announcement, so that’s a good thing,” Mr. Stoffer said. “But of course, words mean not very much if you don’t back them up with human and financial resources.”

Auditor-General Michael Ferguson is due to report Tuesday on mental health in the Canadian Forces. The auditor general provides the government with advance warning of its findings in order to receive comments from relevant departments.

The Operational Stress Injury clinic is to open in Halifax next fall as Canadians are expected to head to the polls for a federal election. David MacLeod, an Afghanistan veteran critical of the way veterans have been treated, was recently nominated as the Liberal candidate to run in the Central Nova riding against Mr. MacKay.

In addition to the Halifax clinic, satellite clinics are to open across the country – St. John’s, Nfld., ‎Chicoutimi, Que., Pembroke, Ont., Brockville, Ont., Kelowna, B.C., Victoria and Montreal, according to the announcement.

Veterans Affairs will also work with the Mental Health Commission of Canada to develop a veterans-specific Mental Health First Aid training program across Canada which will be delivered to an estimated 3,000 veterans, their families and caregivers over the next five years. And it will fund research to find better treatments and promote faster recoveries for veterans and their families who suffer from mental illness.


http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/11/23/feds-to-spend-200-million-on-boosting-mental-health-support-for-soldiers-but-watchdog-says-its-not-enough/

Feds to spend $200-million on boosting mental health support for soldiers — but veterans’ group says it’s ‘not enough’

Canadian Press | November 23, 2014 | Last Updated: Nov 23

OTTAWA — The federal government has announced $200 million over six years to support mental health needs of military members, veterans and their families.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces also announced Sunday that an additional $16.7 million in ongoing funds will be available to support forces members, veterans, and their families.

The government says some of the money will fund completely digitizing the health records of all serving personnel, investing in brain imaging technology and extending access to Military Family Resource Centres.

It also says there will be additional investments in research aimed at finding better treatments and faster recoveries for serving members and veterans with mental health conditions.

Among the areas of research that will be undertaken is looking at how forces members transition from military to civilian life with an emphasis on those with service in Afghanistan.

The research will also look at the causes and prevention of veteran suicides, and ways to improve the recognition, diagnosis, treatment and well-being of veterans with mental health conditions.

The announcement says the Canadian Forces will hire additional staff to help educate serving members and their families in managing their reactions to stress, and recognizing mental duress.

The announcement comes just days after veterans learned that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years.

Like other departments unable to spend their appropriation within the budget year, Veterans Affairs was required to return its unspent funds to the treasury.

The Royal Canadian Legion wrote Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino on Thursday, demanding a detailed accounting of which programs had lapsed funding and why.

The figures put before Parliament show the veterans department handed back a relatively small percentage of its budget in 2005-06, but shortly after the Conservatives were elected the figure spiked to 8.2 per cent of allocation.

Mike Blais, head of Canadians Veterans Advocacy, said the measures announced Sunday would provide a “marginal benefit” to veterans but stop short of what is needed.

“This is seriously not enough. It’s not enough resourcing, it’s not enough effort put forward in accepting this obligation” to mental health.

An Auditor General’s report on mental health services and benefits for veterans is due out Tuesday, and Blais said the funding roll-out was timed to get ahead of what is expected to be a scathing review.

“I think this is not an act of good faith — it’s an act that they’re responding to what’s going to be a very unfavourable Auditor General’s report,” he said.

Also announced Sunday was a new operational stress injury clinic, slated to open in Halifax in the fall of 2015.

In addition to the clinic in Halifax, Veterans Affairs Canada will expand satellite services in nine locations throughout the country, which are funded by Veterans Affairs, but are operated by provincial health authorities.

There are currently outpatient clinics in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, London, Ont., Ottawa, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., Quebec City, and Fredericton.





   





 

Tibbson

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Gee, one can't help but wonder where they found the money.  Like any program though, I'll believe it when I see it.
 

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Mental health in the Canadian military: Feds to spend $200M over 6 years
128 regular forces and 32 reservists have committed suicide in the past decade
CBC News Posted: Nov 23, 2014 8:14 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 23, 2014 5:50 PM ET

The federal government will provide $200 million over six years to address mental health issues among members of the Canadian Forces.

"More must be done to combat mental illness in support of the Canadian Forces," Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said during a news conference at the International Security Forum in Halifax on Sunday morning.

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces also announced Sunday that an additional $16.7 million in ongoing funds will be available to support members of the Forces, veterans and their families.

The government says some of the money will go towards digitizing the health records of all serving personnel and investing in brain imaging technology.

There will also be additional investments in research aimed at finding better treatments and faster recoveries for serving members and veterans with mental health conditions.

The Canadian Forces will also hire additional staff to help educate serving members and their families in managing their reactions to stress, and recognizing mental duress.

Part of the money will go toward a new 'Operational Stress Injury' clinic in Halifax with additional satellite clinics in:

St. John’s, N.L.
Chicoutimi, Que.
Montreal.
Pembroke, Ont.
Brockville.
Hamilton.
Kelowna, B.C.
Victoria.
"Opening in the fall of 2015, the clinic will bring high-quality, specialized mental health services and support to veterans in the Halifax area," Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino said.

He said the satellite clinics will be "front-line medical facilities with medical and mental-health rehabilitation professionals ready to support" soldiers.

Soldiers worry about mental-health stigma

The announcement comes just two days before the Auditor General is expected to release a report on mental health in the Forces.

'Is this not just a response to adverse press or is this a legitimate attempt to reach out and fix things? I think it's half and half. I think this government's in damage control.'
— Michael Blais, Canadian Veterans Advocacy
Statistics from the military show that 128 members of the regular forces and 32 reservists have committed suicide in the past decade.

A Statistics Canada survey released earlier this year suggests nearly one in six full-time members of the Canadian Forces experienced symptoms of mental health or alcohol-related disorders over several months in 2013.

The same survey shows that one-third of Canadian soldiers worry that seeking mental health services would harm their career.

The survey was developed by Statistics Canada with the Department of National Defence. About 6,700 regular force members and 1,500 reservists were interviewed from April to August in 2013.

"We firmly believe that these investments and initiatives will also help reverse the stigma of mental health, which is also a challenge," Fantino said.

'Toxic' relationship

The announcement also comes just days after veterans learned that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years.

Like other departments unable to spend their appropriation within the budget year, Veterans Affairs was required to return its unspent funds to the treasury.

The Royal Canadian Legion wrote Fantino on Thursday, demanding a detailed accounting of which programs had lapsed funding and why.

CANADA-POLITICS/
Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said the funding will better harness technology and research when dealing with mental health issues in the military. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

The figures put before Parliament show the veterans department handed back a relatively small percentage of its budget in 2005-06, but shortly after the Conservatives were elected the figure spiked to 8.2 per cent of allocation. The number began trending downwards until 2010-11 when lapsed funds accounted for only 1.16 per cent of the department's budget, but the pot of unspent cash began growing again after 2011.

Fantino said during the news conference that the $1.1 billion is "not lost money" and the funding is recycled back into programs for veterans. Fantino said claims that the unused funds were a strategy to balance the federal budget are false. He called it a technical budget process that does not hamper services and programs for veterans.

Fantino said his department will be reaching out to the Royal Canadian Legion to provide more detailed information.

'No guarantees' funding will continue after election

Michael Blais, president and founder of the non-profit group Canadian Veterans Advocacy, said the relationship between Fantino and veterans is "toxic."

Blais said he welcomes the $200 million but doubts it will be enough for what's being promised.

"We're all on the same page when we want to have comprehensive care for our young men and women who have sustained mental wounds," he told CBC News Network.

"Is it enough? Is it real? Is this not just a response to adverse press or is this a legitimate attempt to reach out and fix things? I think it's half and half. I think this government's in damage control."

Former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran expressed similar thoughts, calling the so-called benefits "empty promises."

"I don't listen to their rhetoric at all anymore," Stogran said during an interview on CBC's News Network. He added that the time has come for a public inquiry, if not a royal commission, to reveal to Canadians how "terribly dysfunctional" he says the Canadian Forces are.

He said despite the many recommendations that have been made over the past years, he's confident substantive change is not going to happen.

"All you have to do is track the Canadian Forces. They have this Universality of Service policy where if you're not fit to deploy, you're thrown out of the military. They haven't repealed that, they haven't reconsidered it and they are exempt the duty to accommodate that normal employers have when a person is injured in the workplace," he said.

Meanwhile, NDP Critic for Foreign Affairs Peter Stoffer said "only time will tell" if it is enough money.

He said the announcement comes at an "obviously suspect" time with the Auditor General's report expected in two days. There's no question that the government is trying to get ahead of the report and deflect some of the criticism over the returned $1.1 billion, said Stoffer.

Still, he wants to give the Conservatives the benefit of the doubt.

“We’re hopeful that the government is starting to realize this issue is extremely serious and that this funding is going to be there," he said. "Hopefully, it's adequate in order to meet the needs of the men and women who serve our country and their families."

But, he said, the upcoming federal election complicates matters.

“Let’s face it. There is an election next year. We have no guarantees that funding will be restored or continue in this particular regard. So we have many more questions to ask this government.”

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/mental-health-in-the-canadian-military-feds-to-spend-200m-over-6-years-1.2846166
 

Gunner98

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Simian Turner said:
Mental health in the Canadian military: Feds to spend $200M over 6 years

Mr. Fantino says this is all new money!

Time will tell what this really means.  The CAF currently is allocated approx. $50 million annually for Mental Health Care. This increase will be allocated over 6 years and split 50/50 with VAC, the net increase will be $16.7 million/year each. 

In 2012, the Feds gave the CAF an additional $11.4 million (bringing total to $50 million from $38.6 million) to upgrade mental health services. 

So it would seem that the needs analysis (if there was one ;)) should have reflected a need to increase from $38.6 to $66.7 million was required! 

http://metronews.ca/news/canada/366967/military-to-spend-more-on-mental-health/
 

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Looks like the news report is also posted here:

Re: Mental Health and the Canadian Forces - Recent Articles

http://army.ca/forums/threads/87631.50.html
 

Gunner98

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To be clear $100 million over 6 years or $16.7 million/year will be allocated to each, CAF and VAC.
 

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Simian Turner said:
To be clear $100 million over 6 years or $16.7 million/year will be allocated to each, CAF and VAC.

Oh, it's worse than that, I'm ashamed to say:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/veterans-fund-of-200-million-to-be-spent-over-the-next-50-years/article21821944/
 

The Bread Guy

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Rifleman62 said:
Looks like the news report is also posted here:

Re: Mental Health and the Canadian Forces - Recent Articles

http://army.ca/forums/threads/87631.50.html
(Belated) thanks for that - merged.

Milnet.ca Staff
 

Rifleman62

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Rather than start a new thread, below is a recent article on a suicide  study in the US:
http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/07/09/suicide-risk-factors-for-us-army-soldiers-identified/?cmpid=NL_health

Suicide risk factors for US Army soldiers identified - Published July 09, 2015 - Reuters

A new study identifies distinct profiles for U.S. army officers and enlisted soldiers at highest risk of attempting suicide.

Researchers say the results particularly highlight the importance of focusing prevention efforts on young enlisted men and women in their first tour of duty.

"Looking at suicide attempts is one part of the story of how does one get from suicide ideation to suicide plans to suicide attempt to completed suicide," said Dr. Robert Ursano of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. "The mental health and behavioral health issues that contribute to that risk is another."

For the new study, the researchers analyzed data on suicide attempts among U.S. Army soldiers from 2004 through 2009, during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. About four of every 1,000 active-duty U.S. Army soldiers made a suicide attempt during that time.

And in those years, the Army experienced the longest sustained increase in suicide rates relative to other military branches, such as the Marines, Navy and Air Force, the researchers note in JAMA Psychiatry.

To understand what risk factors might predict suicide attempts, they had data on more than 975,000 people on active duty. About 17 percent of those were officers. There were 9,791 suicide attempts among those soldiers during the study period.

That worked out to a rate of about 377 suicide attempts per 100,000 enlisted soldiers each year. For officers, the rate was about 28 attempts per 100,000 each year.

It's difficult to compare these rates to average Americans, because people in the Army differ from the general U.S. population in so many ways, researchers write. Also, not all suicide attempts in the general U.S. population may be reported.

Among enlisted soldiers, certain factors increased the risk of a suicide attempt.

"The highest risk is certainly in the first year of service," Ursano told Reuters Health. "In fact, likely in the first three months of service."

“We also found that suicide attempts are highest in those who never deployed or who were previously deployed," he said.

Other risk factors included having a mental health diagnosis in the prior month, being female, being age 29 or younger, having entered the army after age 25, being white or Asian, being single and not having completed high school.

It's likely that suicide attempts are less common among officers because they tend to differ from enlisted soldiers in ways relevant to risk, Ursano said. For example, officers tend to be older, married and have higher levels of education.

Still, being female, having a mental health diagnosis in the prior month and having entered the service after age 25 were also risk factors for officers. Being over age 40 was another predictor of risk.

The study cannot say why these factors contribute to suicide risk, and the next step is to look at more data from the study, Ursano said.

"There is a series of other drill downs that have to do with looking at details," he said, such as looking at when during deployment someone is most at risk.


Bio of  Dr. Robert Ursano of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland:

https://www.usuhs.mil/content/robert-j-ursano-md

Link to the complete study: Suicide Attempts in the US Army During the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, 2004 to 2009

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2368741
 

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Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit Due To “discontinuation syndrome.”

Adding for reference.

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April 7, 2018

New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/07/health/antidepressants-withdrawal-prozac-cymbalta.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

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