Leading Mental Health Teaching and Research Hospital named as partner for the Centre of Excellence in PTSD and other Related Mental Health Conditions

News release

May 7, 2018 – Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada

Canadian Armed Forces members, Veterans and their families deserve the best care and support for their mental health. Raising awareness about how to improve the mental health issues that can affect our military community is an integral part of giving Veterans support to live their best lives. Understanding the unique mental health conditions that the military community faces will help the Government of Canada build programs and services that work for Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.

Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) helped kick off the Canadian Mental Health Association’s mental health week by announcing the creation of the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and other related mental health conditions with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (The Royal).  The Centre of Excellence will work to advance mental health, research and support to improve treatment for Canada’s Veterans across the country. The Centre of Excellence will conduct applied research, share knowledge and develop tools to support the assessment and treatment of mental health conditions that impact Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces members and their families. Ultimately, the outcome of the Centre of Excellence will help front-line health care service providers better understand and treat mental health conditions specific to Veterans and help Veterans Affairs Canada build programs that work. The centre is truly virtual in that researchers from across the country can connect and collaborate allowing health care professionals from urban centres to remote areas access to the most up to date treatments and latest research.

The Royal is uniquely positioned to do this work as it is home to NATO’s first research chair in military mental health as well as a Brain Imaging Centre that boasts state-of-the-art technology for conducting clinical trials. The Royal also has a strong foundation of caring for the mental health needs of Veterans and their families through the work of its Operational Stress Injury Clinic - the only one in Canada located within a mental health care and research facility.


“Our partnership with The Royal will allow us to deliver the best mental health treatments and supports for Canada’s Veterans and their families.  Because, at the end of the day, it’s about helping Veterans and military members get better.  And by investing in a Centre of Excellence on PTSD and other related mental health conditions, we will be able to do research specific to military mental health and educate health professionals across the country on best practices.”

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“At The Royal we know that research is essential for measuring treatment effectiveness and advancing care for veterans. It’s not only about building knowledge but also sharing that knowledge and equipping healthcare providers across the country with evidence-based treatments to meet the mental health needs of Veterans and their families. We look forward to drawing on our experience in treating Operational Stress Injuries as well as our expansive research capabilities to ensure that the Centre of Excellence in PTSD and other Related Mental Health Conditions helps Veterans attain the quality of life they deserve.”

George Weber, President and CEO of The Royal

“The strength of Canada’s defence depends on our people. We are committed to ensuring the long-term mental wellbeing of our Canadian Armed Forces. The Centre of Excellence will play a key role in improving treatment outcomes and recovery of members and is an important pillar to support the people who protect Canada.”

The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

Quick facts

  • The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost teaching and research hospitals combining the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex mental illness.

  • The Royal has a Brain Imaging Centre which houses a PET-fMRI (Positron Emission Tomography scan-functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machine, the first of its kind in Canada to be solely dedicated to mental health and neuroscience research.

  • VAC is contributing $17.5 million over four years for the Centre of Excellence.

  • Seventy-three percent (73%) of Veterans, who received a benefit from Veterans Affairs Canada for a mental health condition, received it specifically for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Veterans Affairs Canada funds a well-established national network of approximately 4,000 mental health professionals in the community who deliver mental health treatments to eligible Veterans across Canada.

  • The Veterans Affairs Canada Assistance Service (1-800-268-7708) offers a 24-hour toll-free help line, face-to-face mental health counselling, bereavement support and referral services, to Veterans, eligible RCMP and their families.

  • The Operational Stress Injury Social Support Program (OSISS) offers confidential peer support to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Veterans and their families impacted by an operational stress injury. The support is provided by trained peer support and family peer support coordinators, who typically have first-hand experience with these injuries.

  • A Canadian Veteran-specific version of Mental Health First Aid, launched in partnership with the Mental Health Commission of Canada, provides mental health literacy training to the Veteran community located across the country.

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Media Relations
Veterans Affairs Canada

Alex Wellstead
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs

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