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Talk to a professional now

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

About this program

Support for your mental health

The VAC Assistance Service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Call toll-free: 1-800-268-7708

TDD/TTY: 1-800-567-5803

When you call, you will speak to a mental health professional who will ask you questions to identify your needs.

This service is for short-term counselling. 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.

At your request, the VAC Assistance Service can also connect you with a local mental health professional for direct support.

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, or
  • 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.

Call 1-800-268-7708 whenever you need the support of a mental health professional.


Additional information

Bereavement

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

Related programs

Talk to someone who can relate - a peer support network for CAF members, Veterans and their families experiencing an operational stress injury (OSI).

LifeSpeak for Veterans, former RCMP and their families - a self-help website with videos and information about mental health, nutrition and other issues that matter to you.

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


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 and receive psychological support with a mental health professional.

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 24 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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