Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Lifestyles
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Military needs to improve mental health care, says Commons committee report

Afghanistan veteran Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter, right, poses for a photo with his wife Vanessa at home in Goulds, N.L. on July 30, 2013. Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter has been through the nightmares and angry outbursts of post-traumatic stress disorder since serving in Afghanistan in 2006. The House of Commons defence committee is urging the military to do more to help soldiers deal with mental health issues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

Enlarge Image

Afghanistan veteran Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter, right, poses for a photo with his wife Vanessa at home in Goulds, N.L. on July 30, 2013. Cpl. Jamie MacWhirter has been through the nightmares and angry outbursts of post-traumatic stress disorder since serving in Afghanistan in 2006. The House of Commons defence committee is urging the military to do more to help soldiers deal with mental health issues. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly

OTTAWA - The Canadian Forces have made great strides in dealing with combat injuries, but must do more to help soldiers and their families deal with mental health issues, a Commons committee reported Friday.

The all-party defence committee said the military should conduct rigorous mental health screening of recruits and train soldiers to assess their own mental health.

It also said more should be done to educate military families about mental health issues before soldiers deploy, and should get more training about so-called operational stress injuries before they are sent into the field.

"Although resiliency and readiness training may not prevent every member from developing an OSI, the committee believes the programs are of benefit particularly in de-stigmatizing the subject of mental health and encouraging members needing treatment to self-identify and seek treatment early," the report said.

Military medicine deals well with combat injuries, witnesses told the committee. In Afghanistan, a wounded soldier who still had vital signs on arrival at the multinational hospital in Kandahar had a 97 per cent chance of survival.

Hans Jung, a former surgeon-general to the Canadian Forces, told the committee it's the highest survival rate in the history of warfare.

However, more emphasis must be placed on mental health, and more should be done to help ex-soldiers make the shift to civilian life, said the report, which includes 32 recommendations.

And it said the government should fund research into military medical issues, including the handling of brain injuries.

The report noted that progress has been made in recent years, but some soldiers who served in the past missed out on those benefits.

"The committee acknowledges that the CAF has come a long way over the last decade with regard to resiliency training and mental readiness. It was, however, distressing to hear from family members that their loved ones serving in uniform may not have had access to such training given that it was unavailable until a few years ago.

"There are, no doubt, many others who are also victims of timing and past insufficiencies."

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media