Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Learn what Canada is doing to address PTSD.
On this page
- About PTSD
- How Canada is helping
- Federal Framework on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- Other federal PTSD-related activities
- Mental health supports
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that may occur after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event.
Traumatic events can include:
- major accidents
- interpersonal violence
PTSD has specific psychological symptoms and can affect people of any age, culture or gender.
People with PTSD may experience major distress or find it hard to cope:
- at work or school
- in social or family life
How Canada is helping
Canada is committed to addressing PTSD. We passed the Federal Framework on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Act in June 2018. The Act recognizes that all Canadians can be at risk for PTSD and that a great number face higher risks because of the nature of their work.
The Act led to a National Conference on PTSD in April 2019. Experts from across the country, including people with lived experience, shared their knowledge and views. With their involvement, we have developed Canada’s first Federal Framework on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
Federal Framework on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
The Federal Framework on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: Recognition, Collaboration and Support connects and builds on existing federal efforts. It focuses on occupation-related PTSD, but also acknowledges other populations affected by PTSD.
The Framework was developed to help:
- improve tracking of PTSD and its economic and social costs;
- promote and share guidelines and best practices for diagnosis, treatment and management of PTSD; and,
- create and distribute educational materials.
The Framework will be used to:
- strengthen knowledge creation, knowledge exchange, and collaboration across the federal government, and with partners and stakeholders;
- inform practical, evidence-based public health actions, programs and policies; and,
- reduce stigma and improve recognition of the symptoms and impacts of PTSD.
A review of the effectiveness of the Framework will be prepared within five years of its publication. The review will include a progress update and highlight new initiatives and their results.
Other federal PTSD-related activities
Other federal initiatives to support people living with PTSD include:
- an action plan on post-traumatic stress injuries (PTSI) for public safety personnel
- community-based projects to improve the physical and mental health of people affected by family violence
- a national research consortium to improve the mental health and treatment of public safety personnel
- a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions for information and resources on Veteran-specific mental health treatment
Mental health supports
If you or someone you know is in crisis or needs support, you are not alone. Please visit the Mental health support: get help page for more information.
- Veterans Affairs – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and war-related stress
- National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces – Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Public Safety Canada – Post-traumatic stress injuries and support for public safety officers
- Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Government of Canada invests more than $11 million in research into post-traumatic stress injuries in public safety personnel
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