Health and Wellness

Help for military members and family facing a mental illness

This week marks annual Mental Illness Week. 

Between October 6 and October 12, the Department of National Defence, Canadian Mental Health Association, and government officials aim to spread awareness about mental illness and how it impacts millions of Canadians every day.

According to a report published earlier in 2019, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families face a variety of stressors, which can include postings, deployments, being away from support systems, and finding employment. Not to mention military members that are experiencing transition out of the military. 

Although there are many resources available for both civilian workers and military members, there is still an ongoing stigma around the topic of mental illness and the ability to have open, safe conversations about it in the workplace.

According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), one in five Canadians have experienced a mental illness or addiction problem, and by the time Canadians reach the age of 40, one in two have or have had a mental illness. 

The centre’s website noted, “About 4,000 Canadians per year die by suicide—an average of almost 11 suicides a day.”

The Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division describes mental illness as a health problem that affects the mind.

On their website, the CMHA lists five types of mental illness: 

  • Mood disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

People that experiencing a mental illness should talk to a doctor as they are can give a referral to psychiatrist or psychologist as there are many different kinds of treatment for mental illness noted the CMHA website.

There are resources available for both military members and their families. The resources include the Employee Assistance Program (EAP), local Military Family Resources Centre, which offers mental health support, and a number of CAF mental health programs and services on the You’re Not Alone webpage.

Earlier this month, October 5, marked the second anniversary of the Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy, a partnership between the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), which has added a number of psychologists, psychiatrists, and new technology for high-stress members.

Mental Illness Week was established in 1992 by the Canadian Psychiatric Association and is now co-ordinated by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH).

For more information, visit their website.  

For more information on services available to CAF personnel and their immediate families, visit the You Are Not Alone webpage.

For more information on mental illness visit the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division website. 

 

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Paige LeClair

As a recent graduate from the St. Thomas University Journalism program, Paige has a passion for storytelling and investigative journalism. In 2016, she, along with her journalism team were awarded first place at the Emerge Media Awards in the multimedia category. The team was also a finalist at the Canadian Association of Journalist Awards. She is excited to work with other military spouses providing stories and information to the military community. Paige is newly married to Andrew, a Lineman, and moved to their first posting in Petawawa in May of this year. She is excited to begin this journey with Andrew, their dog Diablo, and cat, Linux

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