September 18, 2013
Minister Fantino Announces New Step on Veterans Mental Health
Ottawa, ON - The Honourable Julian Fantino, Minister of Veterans Affairs, today announced that he has directed his officials to proceed with a research assessment on whether psychiatric service dogs can be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This first step will serve to fully review the existing international research on the topic, identify areas where data may be missing and determine what knowledge would be necessary to inform a Canadian approach to the use of service dogs.
"The health and well-being of Veterans and their families is a matter of paramount importance to our Government," said Minister Fantino. "The use of psychiatric service dogs to treat Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder has generated a great deal of interest and attention. We seek to partner with academics who have expertise in the field to gather scientific evidence to see whether this approach can enhance the care we provide to Veterans and their families."
Earlier today, Minister Fantino met with Captain (retired) Medric Cousineau, a Veteran who has been leading the Long Walk to Sanity project, a PTSD awareness and fundraising walking expedition. Captain Cousineau started walking on August 1 in Nova Scotia to help raise awareness about the potential benefits of service dogs for Veterans who are coping with mental health issues. The walk will conclude tomorrow in Ottawa.
"By forging ahead on his walking expedition and working to spread the word amongst Canadians, Captain Cousineau has demonstrated incredible persistence, grit and strength of character. It was a true pleasure to meet with him today," said Minister Fantino.
Further details on Veterans Affairs Canada's project partner and the scope of work will be available in the coming days.
The first Canadian Military Assistance Dog Summit will take place on Saturday, September 21, at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.
Veterans Affairs Canada's support and services offer the right care at the right time to get the best result for the new generation of Veterans and their families. Find out more at veterans.gc.ca
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Media Relations Officer
Veterans Affairs Canada
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
The Canadian Veterans Advocacy Team.