MONTRÉAL, QUÉBEC--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2012) - Mental health experts from the Canadian Forces (CF) and representatives from the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) met today to collaborate on the development and implementation of an aggressive plan to enhance the CF's mental health system and actively recruit and retain high quality mental healthcare providers across Canada.
"We greatly appreciate the CPA's commitment to assisting our men and women who have mental health injuries. I want to thank Dr. Fiona McGregor and the CPA for their leadership as we move forward in partnership to assist our injured members in their recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration," said General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff. "We have made progress in breaking down 'old school' barriers to the identification and treatment of mental health issues, but we still have a lot of work to do to completely overcome stigma and to accelerate treatment. We have a duty to provide the very best care and support we can to those who have sacrificed so much for Canada."
On September 12, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced an additional commitment of $11.4 million to augment mental health care and preventative programs in the CF. This initiative, spearheaded by Minister MacKay, brings the CF's annual mental health care budget to $50 million.
As well as recruiting and retention, the CF and the CPA, who have a longstanding and collaborative relationship, discussed how the best practices of the CF's mental health system are adaptable to civilian mental healthcare programs. The CF's program has been recognized among its NATO allies and by civilian organizations for its robust approach to care, its stigma-reduction initiatives, its mental health research and its mental health training and awareness programs.
"Minister MacKay and the CF are right to take pride in their mental health program," said Dr. Fiona McGregor, President of the CPA. "Great strides have been made in their mental health care system - especially around post-traumatic stress disorder - to reduce stigma, build resilience, improve access and use evidence-based care in a multidisciplinary team approach. Canadian psychiatrists look forward to continuing to collaborate with the CF and other organizations to enhance mental healthcare to Canadian soldiers and to Canadians alike."
Both organizations took this opportunity to recognize their commitment to supporting our men and women in uniform and emphasize the importance of working together to ensure the mental health needs of military personnel continue to be met and enhanced.
"A review of wait times for all clinics is currently underway and an aggressive plan is being developed to further enhance our system and the recruitment and retention of high quality mental healthcare providers across Canada," said Surgeon General for the CF, Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier. "Mental healthcare providers interested in becoming part of the CF's mental health team are encouraged to contact the Canadian Forces for more information."
Notes to editor / news director: For more information on mental healthcare in the CF, please see the backgrounder on Mental Health Services in the CF: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4374