Research and information

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What is mental health?

Mental health is a state of psychological well-being characterized by continuing personal growth, a sense of purpose in life, an ability to focus, prioritize and plan effectively, self acceptance and positive relations with others. Our mental health is expressed through how we think, feel and act in response to the challenges of daily life.

Mental health in Canadian Veterans

Veterans, like other Canadians, can experience feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and low self-esteem. In most cases these feelings are brief, easily relieved by taking a break or a change in circumstances, and have little or no impact on their ability to function. When it does impact their ability to function, timely professional help can be very effective.

What is an operational stress injury?

An operational stress injury (OSI) is any persistent psychological difficulty resulting from operational duties performed while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces or as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It is used to describe a broad range of problems which include diagnosed psychiatric conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other conditions that may be less severe, but still interfere with daily functioning.

Did you know?

  • In a 2003 national study, 77% of all Canadian (Second World War and Canadian Armed Forces) Veterans rated their mental health as good or very good, higher than the 72% rate for non-Veterans.
  • About one-fifth of Canadian Veterans experience a diagnosed mental health disorder at some time during their lives– the most common are depression, PTSD and anxiety disorders.
  • Many health conditions that affect the brain can be associated with emotional and behavioural problems.
  • In a 2010 study of Veterans who released from service between 1998 and 2007, about 24% reported they had a diagnosed mental health condition such as PTSD, depression or anxiety. Of those with a diagnosed mental health condition, 95% also had a chronic physical health condition.
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