Minister of Veterans Affairs marks Bell Let’s Talk Day

Today, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, issued the following statement to mark Bell Let’s Talk Day:

“Members and Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces have stepped up throughout the pandemic to help whenever and wherever they’ve been called upon. But the pandemic has had an effect on many of them, too.

“Daily routines have been disrupted; plans and hopes put on hold. Between new requirements for work, a lot of added stresses to daily life, caring for vulnerable family members, being separated from loved ones and isolated from social circles, it’s completely natural to feel how I know so many of us have been feeling.

“The theme of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day—Supporting ourselves and each other—reminds us that talking about our own mental health is an important way to help relieve stress and take care of ourselves. If you are a Veteran, former member of the RCMP, family member or caregiver who needs to talk, you can call VAC’s free and confidential Assistance Service at 1-800-268-7708. Mental health professionals are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“This spring, it will also become easier for Veterans to obtain Mental Health Benefits coverage. Budget 2021 invested $140 million over five years starting in 2021-22, and $6 million ongoing, so that Veterans who apply for a disability benefit for a mental health condition — as well as those who have already applied — automatically qualify for coverage. Veterans will have up to two years of treatment for conditions like anxiety and depressive disorders, or trauma-and-stressor-related disorders, no matter the final decision on their benefits request.

“The past two years have been hard on everyone. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s talk about our mental health and how we can support ourselves and each other this year.”

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