Wednesday, October 7, 2015

CAF Recognize and participate in Mental Illness Awareness Week

Below is a News Release from DND: 

Ottawa - During Mental Illness Awareness Week being held October 4-10, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) highlight mental health programs and services available for CAF personnel and their families. Senior military leadership at both the national and local levels are encouraging frank and open dialogue regarding mental illness, and profiling mental fitness and suicide awareness courses as part of the Strengthening the Forces program.

Quick Facts
One in five Canadians will suffer with a mental illness in their lifetime.
Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public education campaign designed to help open the eyes of Canadians to the reality of mental illness. The week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and is now coordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health in cooperation with all its member organizations and many other supporters across Canada including the DND and the CAF.

Mental health awareness programs are a significant part of the CAF mental health continuum of care because they encourage personnel to recognize the signs of mental illness, including post-traumatic stress disorder, and to seek early treatment.

The CAF have quality mental health services and programs available to our members. There are 37 primary care clinics; 31 of which have specialized mental health services. There are seven Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres, which are centres of excellence in areas such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Members are encouraged to access expert help at their base and wing clinics however may also contact the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (1-800-268-7708) if required.
Military families can receive confidential support through the Family Information Line (FIL), a 24/7 service that offers support to military members and their families. FIL counselors are well-versed on CAF communities and services and can also connect callers with helpful national and local resources, including local Military Family Resource Centre and Deployment Support Group, 1-800-866-4546 or 1-613-995-5234.

DND and the CAF are committed to furthering Canadian understanding and treatment of mental illness. They actively participate in the annual Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum which brings health researchers together so they can engage with other researchers, the CAF, Veterans Affairs Canada and other stakeholders to exchange valuable knowledge and build new collaborations. The forum is focused on improving the health and well-being of Canadian military personnel, veterans, and their families. This year’s event will be held in Quebec, Quebec, on November 23-25, 2015.


“Our mission to care for our own is ongoing and all-encompassing. We all have a role to play in encouraging dialogue on mental illness. Noting the operational requirements of the Canadian Armed Forces, I cannot overstate the importance of maintaining healthy levels of physical and mental fitness. I encourage all members, and Canadians alike, to talk and learn more about mental illness and how we can combat the stigma associated with it together.”
General Jonathan Vance,
Chief of the Defence Staff

“Mental Illness Awareness Week is an important opportunity to promote dialogue about mental illness and the resources available for those in need. Together with our civilian partners, we are continually expanding our research and understanding of mental illness to enhance our care to those impacted by it. I encourage everyone to open the dialogue about mental illness and do their part to reduce stigma and encourage access to care.”
Brigadier-General Hugh MacKay
Surgeon General

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