War veterans and traumatized former RCMP officers in Nova Scotia can now get full treatment for operational stress injuries (OSI), such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), without having to leave the province or use a telecommunications service. A new OSI clinic opened in Dartmouth on June 13.
Federal Veteran Affairs Minister Kent Hehr attended the official opening of the Nova Scotia Operational Stress Injury Clinic, along with Lindsay Peach, the Nova Scotia Health Authority’s (NSHA) vice president of integrated health, according to an announcement from Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). The clinic – which VAC is funding as well as co-running with the NSHA – will offer complete assessment, diagnosis and treatment of OSIs for current and former members of the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, as well as their families.
“Living with an OSI can be extremely difficult, not only for those who have it, but for their loved ones as well,” Hehr said in a statement about the opening. “This new clinic will make a real difference in the lives of those who receive treatment here.
“These proud Canadians need to know that when their service to our country has concluded, we are there for them. They need to know that they are not alone. And they need to know that we are going to do everything we can to help them get better. That is our ultimate goal.”
An OSI is any chronic psychological illness resulting from traumas experienced during military or police services; prime examples include PTSD, anxiety disorders and depression.
The clinic is the first of its kind in the province. There are 10 other OSI clinics across the country, in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary, Quebec City and other major municipalities, according to information from VAC. Each of these clinics employs a team of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and mental-health nurses who specialize in OSI treatment.
A temporary OSI clinic opened in Nova Scotia last November. Before that, OSI sufferers in the province could receive access to treatment only via a satellite clinic or tele-health services, according to VAC.
“We have a rich military background in Nova Scotia and value our continued strong relationship with the RCMP,” said Peach in a statement. “Staff and leaders of the Nova Scotia Health Authority worked together with Veterans Affairs Canada to create a welcoming, professional environment that is conducive to delivering excellent clinical care and support to veterans and their families.”
In addition to the OSI clinics, VAC and the Department of National Defence also run a network of 26 specialized mental-health clinics.
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