OTTAWA — A network of mental-health clinics set up across the country to help veterans with PTSD and other psychological trauma appears in danger of being overwhelmed as an internal government report shows demand outstripping resources.
The result is that despite the importance of timely intervention, many veterans in places like Quebec City, Vancouver and Edmonton have been forced to wait longer and longer before seeing a mental-health specialist or psychiatrist.
The challenge is separate from the backlog of 29,000 requests for disability benefits at Veterans Affairs Canada and follows a previous warning from the federal auditor general about long wait times for mental-health services.
The federal government, is marking the start of Mental Health Week, has said it is working to bring down all wait times at Veterans Affairs by hiring more staff and cutting bureaucratic red tape.
But the slow pace of change has some veterans’ advocates wondering whether the government is doing enough to help the department catch up with the growing demand that has swept over it in recent years.
The Canadian Press