Funding to help two Nova Scotia-based organizations advance veterans’ mental health

    DARTMOUTH: Over $775,000 from the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund will go to support the Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative and Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia for projects focusing on treatment and recovery.

    Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, Lawrence MacAulay explained Veterans Affairs Canada is committed to ensuring eligible veterans, retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and their families have access to the mental health support they need, when they need it.

    “The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund is about encouraging bold thinking and new ideas to meet the needs of Canada’s veteran community,” MacAulay told The Reporter. “We are investing in innovative projects in Nova Scotia and across the country that will have the greatest positive impact on veterans and their families.”

    The Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund is part of a suite of benefits announced in Budget 2017 to focus on the mental, physical and general well-being of veterans and their families.

    The Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative has been approved to receive $48,715 in funding in 2019-20 to offer stress-reduction training to veterans and their families. It will offer a transcendental meditation program to help veterans and their families deal with toxic stress, occupational stress and post-traumatic stress.

    “The Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative is honoured to be working with the Veterans Affairs Canada in finding innovative ways to improve the lives of Veterans and their families,” Helen Creighton said, national director of Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative. “We will be offering training to 20 families in the Transcendental Meditation technique, a simple but effective stress reduction tool that has been shown to significantly improve physical and mental health, improve overall quality of life, and help foster a more harmonious family dynamic.”

    The Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia will be receiving $727,876 over the next five years to support “Landing Strong,” a 12-week day-treatment program helping veterans and their families to address the mental, moral and physical aspects of injury. The funding will also support year-round workshops, community connection days and social media education and support initiatives.

    “We know PTSD impacts countless individuals and their families. This funding will go a long way toward helping our Veterans, while changing the way people think about mental illness at the same time,” Starr Cunningham, president and chief executive officer of Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia said. “We are incredibly proud of this partnership and what it means to Veterans who deserve to be landing strong.”

    The Government of Canada provides $3 million annually to organizations across Canada through the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund. Organizations in the public, private and academic sectors conducting work that is relevant to Veteran and family well-being may apply to the fund.

    The fund supports vital research and innovative projects to improve the well-being of veterans and their families. These projects cover a range of innovative activities—from suicide prevention research, to initiatives helping homeless or in-crisis veterans, to programs enabling veterans to make smoother transitions to life after service.

    Pointing to the Desmond Inquiry, which is currently before the courts under a fatality inquiry, Veterans Affairs Canada believes these investments will assist in preventing future catastrophes involving veterans and their families.