Stakeholders from across the country meet to inform the development of a federal framework on PTSD
April 10, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Public Health Agency of Canada
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a profound impact on individuals, workplaces, communities and families affected by it. Many people are at increased risk of PTSD because of the nature of their jobs, but anyone can be affected through exposure to traumatic events.
As part of efforts to address PTSD, the Government of Canada brought together stakeholders and partners from across the country, including some who have been personally affected by PTSD, to help inform the development of a federal framework on PTSD.
The two-day conference was convened by the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, in collaboration with the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs.
The conference provided an opportunity to share knowledge, experiences and perspectives to help ensure that the federal framework on PTSD will support the needs of those who are most affected. Participants engaged in discussions on sharing best practices, increasing awareness, improving data to address knowledge gaps, and engaging in research to better support those with PTSD.
During the conference, Lieutenant-General (ret.) the Honourable Roméo A. Dallaire also shared his experience with a severe operational stress injury sustained during his work leading the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. His remarks were a reminder of the continued need to raise awareness and reduce the stigma around physical, psychological and moral injuries.
Mr. Stéphane Lauzon, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, also took the opportunity to launch the updated PTSD Coach Canada application, designed to help Veterans and their families learn about and manage symptoms after trauma. The new version of the app includes an improved self-assessment tool, increased professional health care information and updated information on PTSD based on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The app is a convenient tool for Veterans and their families to access information about PTSD in an interactive way.
The National Conference on PTSD fulfills a key component of the Federal Framework on Post‑Traumatic Stress Disorder Act.
“PTSD is an important health issue, and one that the Government of Canada is committed to addressing. The knowledge and insights gained through our discussions at the National Conference on PTSD provide a foundation for the development of a federal framework that best supports the needs of those most affected. I have no doubt that our collective efforts will have an impact on the lives of people living with PTSD.”
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
“The challenges of addressing PTSD are far-reaching, and it’s clear that we need input from multiple sectors to build a framework that best serves Canadians. While the unique needs of public safety personnel are reflected in Supporting Canada’s Public Safety Personnel: An Action Plan on Post‑Traumatic Stress Injuries, it’s important that this community continue to be part of the conversation guiding the development of the federal framework. Lessons learned in the implementation of the Action Plan will be crucial in informing the whole-of-society approach to this important public health issue.”
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
“Military service places unique demands on the women and men of our Canadian Armed Forces, and their health and well-being is our top priority. This conference provides an opportunity for continued collaboration and discussion between experts in the field of PTSD research and treatment. Together, we will advance our understanding of these illnesses, and identify ways to improve our prevention, education and care strategies.”
The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan
Minister of National Defence
“Collaborating to advance our knowledge of PTSD and how we can lessen its effects is extremely important in the field of mental health. It is important for Canada’s Veterans because their service to our country can increase their risk of developing PTSD, but it’s also important for all Canadians. I am proud of the work the Government of Canada has done in making mental health a priority by committing to the development of a framework on PTSD that will ensure that the most current information is available for Canadians.”
The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs
Repeated traumatic exposures can have profound and lasting impacts on mental health and personal resilience, particularly among public safety officers.
Budget 2018 committed $30 million over five years to improve the mental health and resilience of public safety officers. This includes:
- $20 million over five years to support a new research consortium between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) to address post-traumatic stress injuries among public safety personnel across Canada, particularly those in rural and remote communities.
- $10 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, for Public Safety Canada to work with CIPSRT to develop an Internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy pilot as a means of providing greater access to care and treatment for public safety officers.
The Government of Canada is providing $5 billion over 10 years to provinces and territories to improve access to mental health and addiction services.
On April 8, 2019, the Government of Canada released an Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries. The Action Plan aims to support public safety personnel through research, prevention, early intervention, stigma reduction, and care and treatment. The federal framework will build on and complement the Action Plan as well as other PTSD-related activities currently underway.