Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 5:30 EDT

Minister Fantino Marks Mental Illness Awareness Week

October 11, 2013

OTTAWA, Oct. 11, 2013 /CNW/ – The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of
Veterans Affairs, today marked Mental Illness Awareness Week, which
runs from October 6-12, 2013.

“The health and well-being of Canada’s Veterans and their families are a
matter of great importance to our Government, and for the team of
volunteers and organizers who work with us to support them,” said
Minister Fantino. “Initiatives such as Mental Illness Awareness Week
are an important part of breaking past stigma so that Canadians can
learn more about mental illness, understand the profound and lasting
impacts it can have on them and their loved ones, and know where to
find help.”

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) is an annual national public
education campaign designed to help open Canadians’ eyes to the reality
of mental illness. Established in 1992, the week is coordinated by the
Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH), in
cooperation with its member organizations and other supporters across

“The Military Minds Association continues its overarching mission of
collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada and other care providers to
connect our Veterans and their families to needed mental health
services and ancillary programs,” said John Wright, Chair of the
Military Minds Association of Canada. “From operational stress to full
blown post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the holistic needs can
range from mental and physical health services to housing, financial
and educational stewardship, employment and community reintegration all
of which we are working with VAC and other key partners to achieve. In
the last month alone, the new Minister of Veterans Affairs, the
Honourable Julian Fantino, has met with us three times to both listen
and take action that have involved our constituents. In our parlance,
he’s put boots on the ground and that counts for more than anything

“VETS Canada has seen firsthand the positive results when homeless
Veterans with mental illness receive the support they need,” said Barry
Yhard, Executive Director of Veterans Emergency Transition Services
(VETS) Canada. “We welcome such initiatives as the VAC Return to Work
Program and the Service Study as steps in countering some of the
challenges facing our Veterans. It is hoped that Mental Illness
Awareness Week sheds more light on the need for a team approach to
combat mental illness and help Veterans and others before they become

Veterans Affairs Canada is actively engaged in a number of initiatives
to help Veterans who are dealing with mental health issues, as well as
their families. These include:

        --  supporting the University of British Columbia's Veterans
            Transition Program, a group-based residential treatment program
            geared toward Veterans with operational stress injuries;
        --  developing and launching, in partnership with the Department of
            National Defence and the Canadian Mental Health Association,
            the PTSD Coach Canada mobile app to help individuals and their
            families manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder
        --  partnering with St. John Ambulance Canada and Can Praxis to
            research the benefit of using dogs and horses to assist
            Veterans in dealing with mental health issues; andproceeding
            with a research assessment in
        --  partnership with the Canadian Institute for Military and
            Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) on whether psychiatric service
            dogs can be effective in treating PTSD.

“Our Government recognizes the seriousness of mental illness among
Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel and its impact on their
families, and is committed to supporting them,” added Minister Fantino.
“I am very proud to support these important initiatives which will
assist us in addressing the mental health needs of those who sacrificed
so much for their country.”

Over the years, Veterans Affairs Canada has greatly expanded its mental
health services network. Today, Veterans with mental health conditions
have access to specialized care services across the country, including
assessment, early intervention, treatment, rehabilitation, and ongoing
care in a network of operational stress injury clinics.

For more information on the mental health services provided by Veterans
Affairs Canada, visit veterans.gc.ca/eng/mental-health.

Veterans Affairs Canada’s support and services offer the right care at
the right time to achieve the best results for Veterans and their
families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Source: PR Newswire