In the wake of a critical report from Michael Ferguson, the Auditor General of Canada, the Department of Veterans announced that it will spend $200 million on mental health clinics to address operational stress injuries. However, it was later revealed that the immediate investment is only $19.1 million, with the remainder to be disbursed over the 50-year lifespan of the program. Complementing this announcement, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), in partnership with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group – a leader in mental health care – have created the Canadian Military and Veterans Mental Health Centre of Excellence.
The Centre will focus on the following key areas:
- Research on the unique aspects of military and veteran mental health;
- Ensuring leading-edge clinical research is quickly translated into clinical care;
- Collaborating with scientists from the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research, other government agencies, the private sector and NATO allies, among others.
It was also announced that Colonel Rakesh Jetly, CAF Senior Psychiatrist and Mental Health Advisor to the Surgeon General, has been appointed as the first Chair of the Centre of Excellence, for a period of three years. The position is named after CF Brigadier Jonathan C. Meakins, former president of the Canadian Mental Health Association and one of the first post-traumatic stress disorder researchers in the world.
Read the full announcement on the Government of Canada’s news website.