Remembrance Day: Navigating Mental Health Resources for Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans
November 9, 2023
On November 11th, Remembrance Day is observed in Commonwealth member states to honour the armed forces members who lost their lives in the line of duty during World War I and subsequent conflicts.
In the follow-up to this memorial day, we wanted to highlight the mental health of the Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans. According to the 2018 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Members and Veterans Mental Health Follow-up Survey, 44% of respondents had experienced symptoms consistent with anxiety or depression at some point between 2002 and 2018, while 25% had experienced symptoms consistent with both. However, there are resources available to help CAF members and veterans to help.
The Royal Canadian Legion provides free veteran peer support programs, fostering connections among veterans and families in supportive environments. Operation VetBuild, led by Legion OSI, engages veterans through hobbies like model-building, promoting relaxation, skill learning, and community bonding. Buddy Check Coffee, another veteran-run initiative, encourages networking and sharing experiences over coffee, facilitating camaraderie. Additionally, Legion Branches offer tailored local initiatives.
Veterans can inquire about available services and support through volunteer Service Officers at their respective Legion Branches, which can be found HERE. Wounded Warriors Canada also has peer support training programs and many support programs for veterans and their family members. Brock University partnered with Boots on the Ground for a 12-week wellness program, Comrades in Well-Being, for a 12-week wellness for Ontario veterans.
It is also essential to highlight Indigenous Veterans Day, observed on November 8th, as a tribute to the bravery and dedication of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples in the military. More than 12,000 Indigenous peoples have volunteered on the front lines throughout Canada's engagements in conflicts. Additionally, their contributions extended to the home front, with significant donations and vital roles played by Indigenous women as nurses, air traffic controllers, and radio operators.
Additional peer support services can be found on the PeerWorks website.