(March 16, 2012)
Hon. Steven Blaney
Minister of Veterans Affairs
Ottawa, ON K1A 0P4
Dear Minister Blaney,
The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health (CAMIMH) is an alliance of mental health organizations comprised of health providers and organizations representing persons with mental illness and their families and caregivers. CAMIMH’s mandate is to ensure that mental health is placed on the national agenda in order to improve the mental health of all Canadians and ensure that persons with a lived experience of mental illness and their families receive appropriate access to care and support.
We are writing you today to share our support for the Mood Disorder Society of Canada’s (MDSC) recently released report to government, Out of Sight, Not out of Mind.
As you are aware, the report focuses on the important issue of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the pressing need for a national overhaul of the way this illness is handled. Currently there is an unfortunate lack of awareness surrounding PTSD, not only by the general public, but among health providers as well. It is critical that government and stakeholders work together to change this situation.
PTSD disproportionately affects the service men and women of our military. As Minister of Veterans Affairs and a key policy-maker within your government, we encourage you to read the report and work with your department as well as organizations across the country to ensure that the recommendations that the MDSC has brought forward become a reality.
Some of these recommendations include:
- The development/execution of educational seminars for front-line workers, including family physicians, on the prevention, identification and treatment of PTSD and the stigma associated with it. This would include a Continuing Medical Educational (CME) module available to all of Canada’s 76,000 family physicians;
- The development and implementation of a PTSD Anti-Stigma Campaign, jointly funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Health Canada;
- The development of a child-oriented program and educational tools on PTSD to enhance their understanding of the disorder; and
- The undertaking of a national PTSD research agenda led by a network of dedicated researchers specializing in depression and associated mental illnesses. The undertaking of a national PTSD research agenda led by a network of dedicated researchers specializing in depression and associated mental illnesses.
CAMIMH strongly feels that the development of a CME would be a valuable step forward in educating front line workers and providing them with the tools they need to help those suffering from this disorder. The MDSC already has a memorandum of understanding with the Canadian Medical Association to develop such a program. With a small investment from government, this project could become a reality and provide real help to patients and their families.
We hope that we can count on your support for this important endeavor.
Dr. John Higenbottam CAMIMH , Co-Chair
Dave Gallson CAMIMH, Co-Chair
Cc: Hon. Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health
Hon. Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance