Minister Blaney Announces National Launch of PTSD Mobile App and funding for PTSD Research

TORONTO, May 6, 2013 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Minister for La Francophonie, today recognized the beginning of Mental Health Week in Canada by announcing support for initiatives to help Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and their families.

Minister Blaney launched a new PTSD Coach Canada mobile app, which is designed to help Veterans, Canadian Armed Forces personnel, and civilians with PTSD manage their symptoms. On behalf of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Minister Blaney also announced $375,755 for a two-year study involving 140 clinicians to examine how effectively they are using cognitive processing therapy to treat adults with post-traumatic stress disorder. The funding also included a two-day workshop for the clinicians.

"Our Government recognizes the seriousness of PTSD among Veterans and Canadian Armed Forces personnel and its impact on their families, and is committed to supporting them," said Minister Blaney. "As Mental Health Week begins in Canada, I am proud to support these important initiatives which will assist us in addressing the mental health needs of those who sacrificed so much for their country."

The Ryerson University research project is a partnership between Canada's largest network of PTSD treatment providers, Veterans Affairs Canada's Operational Stress Injury National Network, and Ryerson University professor, Dr. Candice Monson. This collaborative project will help strengthen the knowledge base of health-care providers, as well as their ability to provide individuals affected by PTSD, and their loved ones, with the help and support they need.

"We are proud that researchers at Ryerson University, such as Professor Candice Monson, are developing innovative treatments to improve the health and well-being of Canadians," said Sheldon Levy, Ryerson University President and Vice-Chancellor. "This project provides an opportunity for collaboration with key research partners. We are looking forward to seeing how these results benefit those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder."

"Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most treatable mental health conditions, which affects about 10 percent of Canadians," said Dr. Candice Monson, principal investigator of the CIHR-funded study currently underway and a psychology professor at Ryerson University. "We believe that using cognitive processing therapy to treat individuals with PTSD will significantly improve the lives of Canadians. Our study hopes to prove this by training clinicians on this form of therapy and monitoring its benefits for patients who have received this short-term psychological treatment."

PTSD Coach Canada is a free mobile app that can help individuals and their families manage the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Developed by Veterans Affairs Canada, in partnership with the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Mental Health Association, PTSD Coach Canada was adapted from the American PTSD Coach, created by the United States' Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense. It can now be downloaded to mobile devices free-of-charge through the iTunes store and the Android Market.

Today's announcements complements Minister Blaney's fall 2012 initiative that launched the Veterans Transition Action Plan, which included new support of up to $600,000 over four years for Veterans to participate in the ground-breaking Veterans Transition Program from the University of British Columbia. In February, Minister Blaney announced that Veterans participating in the Veterans Transition Program in Ottawa would have the first opportunity to test the PTSD Coach Canada app.

"The task of supporting Canadian Veterans dealing with barriers to transition like post-traumatic stress disorder is complex and requires numerous layers of assistance," said Tim Laidler, Veteran and Executive Director of the Veterans Transition Network. "Innovations like the PTSD Coach Canada app are welcome and helpful additions in the fight against PTSD among Veterans."

"These mental health initiatives announced by Minister Blaney will improve the ways that PTSD is treated and will make for a better quality of life for RCMP and military Veterans," said Cal Small, President of the RCMP Veterans Association.

For more information on Veterans Affairs Canada's programs and services, visit veterans.gc.ca.

2013 is the Year of the Korean War Veteran—Canada proudly remembers the heroes of the Korean War and their brave fight to uphold freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

Ryerson University is Canada's leader in innovative, career-oriented education and a university clearly on the move. With a mission to serve societal need, and a long-standing commitment to engaging its community, Ryerson offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs. Distinctly urban, culturally diverse and inclusive, the university is home to more than 38,000 students, including 2,300 master's and PhD students, nearly 2,700 faculty and staff, and more than 140,000 alumni worldwide. Research at Ryerson is on a trajectory of success and growth: externally funded research has doubled in the past four years. The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education is Canada's leading provider of university-based adult education. For more information, visit www.ryerson.ca.

SOURCE Veterans Affairs Canada

Image with caption: "Minister Steven Blaney announces the national launch of a PTSD mobile app and funding for PTSD research. From left to right: Minister Blaney, Dr. Candice Monson (Professor and Principal Investigator, Ryerson University), Tim Laidler (Veteran and Executive Director, Veterans Transition Network), Master Corporal Wes Arscott and Sheldon Levy (President, Ryerson University). (CNW Group/Veterans Affairs Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130506_C3847_PHOTO_EN_26417.jpg




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