Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada

May 06, 2008 10:47 ET

Government of Canada Expands Support for Military Families

KINGSTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 6, 2008) - The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today that the Government of Canada has expanded support for military families. Veterans Affairs Canada has hired an additional eight family peer-support coordinators as part of the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program (OSISS). A joint initiative of Veterans Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence, OSISS provides essential help to Canadian Forces members, Veterans and families affected by operational stress injuries-including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression or addiction.

"Our Government recognizes that the stress of military operations not only presents challenges to Veterans and Canadian Forces members, but also deeply affects their families and society as a whole," said Minister Thompson. "This expansion of the family peer-support network demonstrates our Government's commitment to improving support for Canada's military families."

"The Government of Canada is committed to our Veterans who have served this country so proudly", said Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency. "Family support is critical to any patients' recovery, and the expansion of the OSISS network will ensure that families also have the support they need in this endeavour."

The Government of Canada committed an additional $1 million for Veterans Affairs Canada to enhance peer-support services for military families by hiring eight family peer-support coordinators and additional OSISS management support staff. With the addition of the eight new staff members, there are now 20 family peer-support coordinators in the nation-wide network. The coordinators help families cope with the challenges associated with operational stress injuries, military operations, physical injuries and the loss of a loved one. They listen, provide information, and connect families to support one another.

The OSISS program is led by professionally trained Veterans and family members who know the realities of operational stress injuries first-hand and are able to call upon their own experiences to help others. Established in 2001, this highly successful program has received national and international recognition for its innovative approach to supporting clients on the road to recovery.

OSISS is part of the Veterans Affairs Canada and Department of National Defence joint mental health strategy which also includes an integrated network of nationwide clinics that provide specialized treatment and support for clients with operational stress injuries. The mental health strategy complements Veterans Affairs Canada's New Veterans Charter which was implemented in 2006 to provide programs and services that better support Canadian Forces members and their families as they transition to civilian life.

For more information on the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program, visit www.osiss.ca or call 1-800-883-6094. For more information on the New Veterans Charter, visit www.vac-acc.gc.ca.

Contact Information

  • Veterans Affairs Canada
    Janice Summerby
    Media Relations Advisor
    613-992-7468
    or
    Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
    Richard Roik
    Director of Communications
    613-996-4649