For many who serve in the military, the effects of a deployment can have a far-reaching impact on their lives. A large number of soldiers return to Canada with mental health issues stemming from their time overseas, with many suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other debilitating mental problems. In an effort to fight back against this trend, the Canadian government is pledging more funds and resources to help members of the military get proper treatment.
Canada has been involved with the war in Afghanistan and various other military conflicts for more than a decade, and that has resulted in thousands of military personnel returning home with PTSD or other mental issues, CTV News reports. Members of the military are an at-risk group when it comes to mental health, due to the rigors of serving in active duty.
An estimated 3,900 Afghanistan veterans from the Canadian Forces are expected to be diagnosed with some kind of occupational stress injury within four years of returning from their deployment, which is more than 13 per cent of the 30,000 troops, The Globe and Mail reports.
The military has made progress when it comes to dealing with the mental health issues of veterans. Earlier in the year, the Defence Department announced that it would spend an additional $11.4 million to hire professionals to help treat mental health conditions.
"Serving members who served our nation who are now ill or injured as a result of their experience, and require our assistance to heal, to recover, to transition and to improve their quality of life are a priority for me," Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a September speech, as quoted by CBC News. "While our government has a good record of providing this care, there is more to be done."
Previously, more than $38 million was dedicated annually to treating mental conditions of military members, but the demand for help outweighed the resources. With the added funds increasing the programs and professional workers available, more military personnel will be able to receive the care they need.
The increased funding is just the beginning of the process for helping many veterans. Transition programs, education and other opportunities are also needed to aid military members in the return to civilian life.
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