Ministers of National Defence and Veterans Affairs encourage positive change around mental illness

Statement

January 29, 2020 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces / Veterans Affairs Canada

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, today issued the following statement in support of Bell Let’s Talk Day:

“Our Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and Veterans face unique physical and mental challenges that go hand in hand with the important work they do and have done in service to our country. The bravery and dedication of our members, demonstrated through challenging missions around the globe, is truly inspirational, and we recognize the sacrifices of those who have served and continue to serve on behalf of our grateful nation.   

“Service to our country is rewarding, but it can also take a toll on our members, both physically and mentally. Mental health issues can come in many forms and affect anyone. By learning about mental health, we can reduce the stigma around mental illness and see seeking help as a sign of strength. 

“When it comes to mental health, breaking down barriers and reducing stigma are important in moving forward. We want Veterans, serving CAF members, retired RCMP and their families, who may be experiencing mental health issues, to know that support is available on the path to recovery and well-being. 

“We continuously strive to improve mental health services for the Defence Team community, including serving CAF members, Veterans, and their families. Part of this journey includes partnering with Bell on Bell Let’s Talk Day, which celebrates its 10th anniversary today. The CAF is a longstanding partner with Bell on this annual event to encourage a national conversation about mental health, with a focus on building awareness, acceptance, and action in mental health, while helping to end the stigma surrounding mental illness. 

“Today, let’s talk. More importantly, let’s propel these words into action. We encourage you to get involved any way you can. Start the conversation—at work, at home, or with friends. For every text message, mobile and long distance call made by customers of Bell Canada, Bell Aliant, and Bell MTS, every tweet using #BellLetsTalk, every view of the Bell Let’s Talk Day video on social media, and use of the Bell Let’s Talk Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, Bell will donate five cents to support Canadian mental health programs.

“We understand that honest and open discussions are needed to learn more about when help is needed. We commit to continuing these discussions with CAF members, Veterans and their families. Never underestimate the positive impact you can make on someone’s life. A gesture that may seem insignificant to you may be the support someone needs. If you, or someone you know needs help, please ask for it. Do not suffer in silence. The best chance for recovery is seeking care early, and we are here to support you.” 

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Associated Links

Canadian Armed Forces Member Assistance Program
Mental health resources for Canadian Armed Forces members and families
Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS)
Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres (OTSSC)

Contacts

Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada
Phone: 613-992-7468
Vac.media-medias.acc@canada.ca

Alex Wellstead
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defense
Phone: 613-698-3042

Media Relations
Department of National Defence
Phone: 613-904-3333
mlo-blm@forces.gc.ca

Floriane Bonneville
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of National Defence
Phone: 613-996-3100


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