Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Services

Addictions Treatment Program

The Addictions Treatment Program provides assessment and treatment to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members struggling with alcohol, drugs, and gambling, as well as other addictions.

Patients are assessed by their Primary Care Physician who then works with an Addiction Counsellor to establish a plan of care and treatment based on the individual’s needs.

The program offers the following types of treatments:

  • Assessment for substance related and addictive disorders
  • Individual and group treatment addressing alcohol, drugs and gambling
  • Assessment for placement in inpatient alcohol or drug rehabilitation facilities
  • Relapse prevention and follow-up

For any services not available at CAF locations, patients are referred to pre-approved treatment resources.

Mental Health Program

The program offers specialized mental health services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who are referred by their physician. The staff includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, addictions counselors and health services chaplains.

The following types of services are offered in the program and are available at larger CAF locations:

  • Assessment – A psychiatrist or psychologist will check for a broad range of mental health disorders including depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive and related disorders, trauma and stressor-related disorders.
  • Individual treatment – Plans include trauma focused therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy and others depending on the needs of the individual.
  • Group treatment – Led by a professional therapist, individuals with the same diagnosis, issues, or concerns meet regularly, therapy can be based on cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal group therapy or trauma focused such as cognitive processing therapy.
  • Case conferencing – Physician and Mental Health care specialists work together on treatment and decisions relating to medical employment limitations and the assignment of temporary medical categories. Regular communication and case conferencing ensures service members are receiving appropriate and timely care.
  • Referrals – In cases where patients need treatments that are not offered at CAF clinics, they are referred to appropriate civilian resources and care is coordinated with their physician.

Operational Trauma and Stress Support Program

The Operational Trauma and Stress Support Program provides assessment and treatment for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members who struggle with operational stress injuries.

Where is this program offered?

The program is offered at the seven Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres across Canada: Halifax, Gagetown, Valcartier, Ottawa, Petawawa, Edmonton and Esquimalt.  Some services are also available at smaller CAF locations depending on population size and availability of local mental health care providers.

How does this program work?

The program uses an interdisciplinary team approach where psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, addictions counselors and health services chaplains work together to help the patients.  They also educate military and civilian health care providers on how to diagnose and manage operational stress injuries.

Family members can join in and are encouraged to participate in the educational sessions that are designed for them.

Psychosocial Services Program

The Psychosocial Services (PS) Program offers bilingual mental health and administrative services to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members on a walk-in basis. The program is staffed with Social Workers, Mental Health Nurses and Addictions Counsellors.

The following types of services are offered in the program:

  • Short-term counselling
  • Crisis intervention
  • Addictions consultation
  • Psycho-educational information
  • Outside Canada posting screenings
  • Administrative Social Work assessments and reports
  • Pre/post deployment screenings

Road to Mental Readiness Program

The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) program offers resilience and mental health training to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members throughout their careers. The program is offered by qualified trainers, clinicians and operators to meet the needs of members and their families.

R2MR training program is divided into three key areas.

Career training

For new recruits, the career training provides the building blocks to maximize performance and enhance resilience.  As CAF members progress through the ranks and take on leadership responsibilities, training continues to build with the focus on:

  • well-being and performance
  • maintenance of health in ones’ subordinates
  • institutional policy and processes
  • additional performance training for jobs in Search and Rescue, military policing and sniper training

Deployment training

Training is offered before and after deployment. The pre-deployment training helps prepare CAF members for the new environment; while the post-deployment training is focused on preparing them make the necessary adjustments when returning home.

Family training

The program also helps family members manage the stress of military life, including deployment.  The family training is available at all Military Family Resource Centres across the country and online through the web applications.

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