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Talk to a mental health professional

Call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now, or use the online chat to set up an appointment. A confidential and free service available 24/7 to Veterans, former RCMP members, their family members, and caregivers.

About this program

Support for your mental health

The VAC Assistance Service provides free, short-term psychological support with a mental health professional.

When you contact the VAC Assistance Service, you will speak to a mental health professional. They will help identify your needs and make an appropriate referral to a local mental health professional. You can usually receive an appointment within five working days.

You can receive between one and up to 20 hours of confidential support through this service. The number of hours will depend on the nature, severity and urgency of the issue.

For immediate support, call 1-800-268-7708 to speak to a mental health professional right now.

Many kinds of help

The VAC Assistance Service provides support for issues that affect your well-being. These could include:

  • Work-related issues
  • Health concerns
  • Family and marital problems
  • Psychological difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Other problems that affect your well-being

Scenarios

Here are some scenarios that describe what could happen, who might be affected, and how problems could be addressed through support services.

A family of five, where one parent is a Veteran: The Veteran is experiencing marital difficulties, work-related issues, and problems with one of their school-aged children. The Veteran, their spouse and child can each attend their own sessions with a professional. They can each receive between one and up to 20 hours of psychological support for each issue. For example, the spouse may require 15 hours of support while the Veteran and child may only require five and eight hours of support, respectively.

A single, former RCMP member who lives with a 28-year-old extended family member: The former RCMP member was seriously ill and recently hospitalized. His 28-year-old niece takes care of him and supported him during his hospitalization and during his recovery. The former RCMP member and his niece, as caregiver, can both receive support. Each person can receive between one and up to 20 hours of psychological support for their issues.

After receiving support for one issue, another issue arises: A Veteran and their family previously used the VAC Assistance Service for family issues and now need support for health concerns. The Veteran and family members can each receive between one and up to 20 hours of psychological support services for the health concern. In this example, the Veteran may need 17 hours of support to resolve the issue, and a family member may need 10 hours of support.

A former RCMP member living in an isolated region: The former RCMP member cannot regularly get to an urban area to see a mental health professional in person. The VAC Assistance Service can provide telephone psychological support to them and each of their family members.


Do you qualify?

The service is for:

  • Canadian Armed Forces Veterans
  • Former members of the RCMP
  • their families, and
  • their caregivers

You do not need to be receiving other services from Veterans Affairs Canada to receive this service.

Limitations

This service is available to children up to 21 years old (or up to age 25, if they are full-time students).


How to apply

There is no application form to request the VAC Assistance Service.

Simply contact the VAC Assistance Service by:

  • phone at 1-800-268-7708 (TTY: 1-800-567-5803 for hearing- impaired persons), 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • online chat on Health Canada’s Employee Assistance Program web page (select current/former RCMP or CAF, Veterans Affairs Canada, password: canada), Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time), excluding statutory holidays.

Please note: the chat feature is only to make an appointment with a mental health professional. If you need immediate support, call 1-800-268-7708.


Additional information

Bereavement

The service can also assist family members who need support following the service-related death of a Veteran or member of the CAF or RCMP.

Pastoral outreach

You and your immediate family can get spiritual support when the need arises through VAC’s pastoral outreach service.

LifeSpeak for Veterans, former RCMP their families and caregivers

A self-help website with videos and information about mental health, nutrition and other issues that matter to you.

Related programs

Talk to someone who can relate - Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) is a peer support network for CAF members, Veterans, their families and caregivers experiencing an operational stress injury (OSI).


Frequently asked questions

Who answers your call?

A Canadian mental health professional is always ready to respond to a call. They are bilingual with at least a master’s degree in a psychosocial field and they are trained in crisis and suicide intervention. If they determine that it is an urgent situation, they will provide you immediate support over the phone. They will make recommendations for further support and refer you to a mental health professional in your region for face-to-face psychological support. If you live in a remote area where access to in-person services is limited, psychological support can be provided by telephone.

How many sessions are provided?

You can receive between 1 and up to 20 hours of psychological support per issue. The actual number of hours will vary depending on the nature, severity, and urgency of the problem. If the issue requires longer term support than the program can offer, you will be referred to external resources and supported until those specialized services are available.

Are there services for Veterans in isolated areas or outside of Canada?

If you are living in a remote area or outside of Canada, you can call or use the online chat to receive psychological support with a mental health professional. If you are located outside of Canada, you can make a collect call by dialing 613-941-5842.

What to do if I haven’t received a call from a counsellor within 2 business days?

If you do not receive a call from a counsellor within 48 hours, please call 1-800-268-7708. We will follow-up with your mental health professional and ensure all the contact information is correct.

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