New funding to support Canadian veterans and their families
Following stressful situations or traumatic events experienced in military life, too many veterans face social and mental health challenges, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression to homelessness, substance abuse and suicide. Veterans Affairs Canada has made it a priority to provide services and benefits to Veterans, when and where they are needed.
On May 24, 2023, at the Old Mission Brewery in Montreal, the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced investments that will further support Veterans. A total of 21 projects have been announced as part of the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund, totaling $6M over three years.
As the principal investigator of one of these projects, Deborah Da Costa, PhD, a scientist in the Metabolic Disorders and Complications Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University, was present at the announcement. She will receive $250,000 to study the importance of known and unique gender-specific factors in relation to mental health outcomes in Canadian Veteran women.
“I am truly honoured and grateful to be part of this initiative that will help better address the needs of Veterans and their families. My study will focus on Veteran women, who face unique challenges throughout their lives. By identifying factors associated with their mental health outcomes, help-seeking needs and preferences, I hope to contribute to the development of improved services and interventions, and ultimately, to their well-being,” said Da Costa.
Launched by Veterans Affairs Canada in 2018, the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund provides funding to private, public or academic organizations to conduct research and implement initiatives and projects that support the well-being of Veterans and their families.
As stated in a press release by the Government of Canada, the funded projects will address homelessness, help retrain transitioning Veterans, support employment, while advancing mental health and important research. A special focus will be placed on investments to support women, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ Veterans, as well as their families.
“Veterans Affairs Canada ensures that Veterans receive the services, programs and benefits they have rightly earned. But we don’t do it alone. Across the country, organizations have developed innovative programs that enhance the well-being of Veterans and their families. The projects we are funding today help Veterans in a wide variety of ways, including addressing homelessness, retraining, employment, mental health, and research, along with supporting women, Indigenous and 2SLGBTQI+ Veterans as well as their families,” said Minister MacAulay.