This past December the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) established a national Canadian Military and Veterans Mental Health Centre of Excellence and created a Chair in Military Mental Health in partnership with The Royal Ottawa Health Care Group.
The establishment of this Centre of Excellence and the Chair are part of a number of recent enhancements by the Government of Canada that will support clinical best practices and prioritize mental health research, education and prevention.
“The mental health of our soldiers has never been more prominent, nor the need for support more pressing. Through this new collaboration, we believe we will be able to help more soldiers recover from debilitating psychological injuries and get their lives back,” said George Weber, president & CEO The Royal.
He added, “As one of the country’s foremost academic mental health care and science centres, we look forward to improving care by advancing new research in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and building better understanding of military and veteran mental health issues.”
The Canadian Military and Veterans Mental Health Centre of Excellence will have a forward-looking perspective in research, education and clinical care. The centre was established within the Canadian Forces Health Services Group in collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada,
Colonel Rakesh Jetly, CAF Senior Psychiatrist and Mental Health Advisor to the Surgeon General, has been appointed by the Surgeon General, Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier, to serve as the first Chair for a period of three years.
The Chair will participate in education and research activities at The Royal and seek opportunities to advance military-related mental health research.
“With our civilian partners, we strive to continually research and improve preventive measures and clinical care related to mental illness for the benefit not only of Canadian Armed Forces members and their families, but all Canadians,” said Bernier.
Key areas of focus for the Centre of Excellence will include, conducting research on unique aspects of military and veterans mental health, collaborating with scientific experts in academia such as through the Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health Research, government agencies, private sector laboratories, research consortia, and with NATO and other allies, and ensuring knowledge gained from leading-edge clinical research translates rapidly into clinical care.
The Chair will be named “CF Brigadier Jonathan C. Meakins, CBE, RCAMC, Chair in Military Mental Health.”
Brigadier Meakins was one of the world’s first PTSD researchers during the First World War, founding president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, president of the Canadian Mental Health Association and of the Canadian Medical Association, was Deputy Director General Medical Services during the Second World War, and was elected to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, in addition to receiving numerous mental health awards.
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