Canadian Armed Forces establishes Centre of Excellence
and names Chair in Military Mental Health research
Ottawa – The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have 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 Royal), one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres.
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 Canadian Military and Veterans Mental Health Centre of Excellence, established within the Canadian Forces Health Services Group in collaboration with Veterans Affairs Canada, will have a forward-looking perspective in research, education and clinical care. Key areas of focus 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.
•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 in Military Mental Health, for a period of three years.
•The Chair will be named the “CF Brigadier Jonathan C. Meakins, CBE, RCAMC, Chair in Military Mental Health.” Brigadier Meakins was one of the world's first post-traumatic stress disorder 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.
•The Chair will participate in education and research activities at The Royal and seek opportunities to advance military-related mental health research.
•The Royal’s Research Institute of Mental Health is proudly affiliated with the University of Ottawa in this initiative.
“Mental health is an issue that affects us all. Members who are battling mental illness have greater access to specialized care than ever before and these initiatives demonstrate that our Government is committed to providing the best care available to our men and women in uniform.”
The Honourable Rob Nicholson, PC, QC, MP for Niagara Falls and Minister of National Defence
“Today’s announcement is another example of the Government’s continued commitment to the needs of Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. Working with The Royal, the Centre of Excellence and the Chair in Military Mental Health Research will enhance current levels of care and ensure continuous and seamless improvements in the future. This is what our members deserve.”
James Bezan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence
“Our Government is committed to enhanced and continued mental health supports and services for those who have served and their families. Through research, education, and clinical care, this national Centre will provide life-saving outcomes and build on our record of improving the quality of life of Canadian Veterans.”
The Honourable Julian Fantino, M.P. for Vaughan and Minister of Veterans Affairs
“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. As one of the country’s foremost academic mental health care and science centers, we look forward to improving care by advancing new research in post-traumatic stress disorder and building better understanding of military and veteran mental health issues.”
George Weber, President & CEO, The Royal
“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.”
Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier, Surgeon General