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Questions and answers

Q1. Where do I go if I need help with my mental health?

If you need immediate assistance call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital.

You can speak with a mental health professional by calling the VAC Assistance Service toll free at 1-800-268-7708 or TDD/TTY: 1-800-567-5803 for the hearing impaired.

For information on our services and support, call Veterans Affairs Canada between Monday and Friday from 8:30 – 4:30 at 1-866-522-2122.

Q2. Where is the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related Mental Health Conditions located?

The Centre of Excellence is located in Ottawa, at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. Researchers, physicians and other experts across Canada in universities, research centers and in the clinical field will contribute their knowledge and expertise through joint projects and partnerships. The knowledge and learning from the Centre of Excellence will be available to health care providers, no matter where they are located across the country.

Q3. How will the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related Mental Health Conditions make a positive difference in the lives of Canada's Veterans and their families?

The Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related Mental Health Conditions has a knowledge sharing mandate which in turn will support improved mental health treatment for Canada's Veterans across the country. It will create knowledge on the subject of Veteran mental health, suicide prevention, substance use disorder and on effective treatment approaches and tools. The Centre will also share this knowledge with mental health service providers who treat Canadian Veterans.

Q4. Why is the Centre of Excellence not an in-patient facility that offers treatment?

VAC is funding the new Centre of Excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions so that experts dedicated to improving Veterans and their families’ mental health are able to create and share knowledge on PTSD and Veteran mental health. This in turn will translate into real on-the-ground approaches, tools and best practices that healthcare providers will be able to use with Veterans and their families right across the country. Through an umbrella network of diverse partnerships, collaborations and joint initiatives, the Centre of Excellence will mobilize key resources across the country to advance the knowledge and clinical practice that will help improve the mental wellness of Veterans. Mental health clinicians will now have access to the latest evidence-based knowledge, training, treatment protocols and tools to help them work with and treat Veterans.

Over the years, Veterans Affairs Canada has increased the number of options available to Veterans to ensure they have the services they need. Veterans have access to a large network of approximately 4,000 registered mental health service providers across the country including social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, occupational therapists, and other specialists. In addition, the network of Operational Stress Injury Clinics and Satellite Service Sites across the country offers Veterans access to highly specialized services. Veterans with an OSI also have access to inpatient services at the residential treatment clinic in St. Anne’s Hospital as well as private facilities across the country.

Q5. Why was The Royal chosen to establish the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions?

The Royal is a leading teaching and research hospital. It is uniquely positioned to fulfill the Centre’s mission as it is home to NATO’s first Research Chair in Military Mental Health as well as a Brain Imaging Centre that has state-of-the-art technology for conducting clinical trials. Through the work of its VAC-funded Operational Stress Injury Clinic – the only one in Canada located within a mental health care and research facility – The Royal also has a strong foundation of caring for the mental health needs of Veterans and their families.

Q6. Will the Centre of Excellence provide Veteran-specific programming that could be used at other Veterans Affairs funded facilities?

The Centre of Excellence will be the hub for information and resources on Veteran-specific mental health treatment. In fact, the Centre will focus on establishing and sharing evidence based treatment protocols and best practices amongst the various Operational Stress Injury Clinics and mental health professionals located across the country. Although the Centre of Excellence will not provide treatment services, the materials and tools it will develop could be used by any treatment facility across the country.

Q7. Is Canada the only country implementing a Centre of Excellence like this?

No. Australia and the United States also have Centres of Excellence. A review of their work has helped inform the design of Canada's Centre of Excellence.

Q8. How much money is VAC spending on this Centre of Excellence?

Veterans Affairs Canada is investing $17.5 million over four years in the Centre of Excellence, and then $9.2 million per year after that.

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