“Most Canadians don’t know what it’s like for a lot of Veterans just to try and function through a day.”
— Warrant Officer (Ret’d) Brian McKenna, National Strategic Advisor with the Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families.
For decades, Veterans, and their Families have voiced concerns about how hard it can be to find support services that reflect their military experiences and provide real ways to help. Finding the right services in the right place and at the right time is not always easy. Additionally, civilians are often unaware of the physical, emotional, and mental stressors that Veterans, and their Families experience, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Enter the Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families. We were named in 2017 as the Centre of Excellence on PTSD, to increase awareness of Veteran and Family mental health needs, and to improve the quality and availability of traumainformed care and supports that will make daily life a little easier.
Nothing about us without us
Our work is guided by the expertise of those with lived experience. Our four lived experience advisors—two CAF Veterans and two CAF Family members—build trusted relationships with Veterans and Families to ensure the information we develop and share is tailored to their needs Across our various projects, we also engage with community, receiving and sharing information that will improve supports and services for mental health and wellbeing.
“We embed lived expertise in our staff and into our processes. We regularly engage with Veterans and Families, former RCMP members, researchers and service providers, to ensure that our work is guided by and reflective of—the people we serve. It’s also important for RCMP Veterans and their Families to know they are part of our remit, that we are here to respond to their needs, too,” says Laryssa Lamrock, National Strategic Advisor, Families with the Atlas Institute.
Our goal, says Fardous Hosseiny, President and CEO of the Atlas Institute, is to ensure that Veterans and their Families have access to the best possible supports and care. “While we do not offer direct services, we aim to identify the best mental health treatment approaches,” says Hosseiny. “Veterans and Families have dedicated their lives to serving Canada. Now, it’s our time to give back.”
Mental health challenges are common
Roughly one in four Veterans experiences mental health problems. Many of these problems are hard for service providers to understand and treat, due to lack of clinical research.
“It can be challenging to find up-to-date research on Veterans and their Families,” Hosseiny says. “One of our goals is to use new and existing research to inform treatment options and policies that support improvements in trauma-related mental health care,” he adds, referring to the Atlas Institute’s research work with both Canadian and international partners. He also points out that sharing research is key to getting current and relevant knowledge into the hands of service providers and Veterans and Families alike.
We have your backs
We listen to Veterans and Family members. We hear them when they talk about their experiences at home and abroad, the challenges of returning from deployment, the strain of being away from Family and friends, how hard it is to transition to post-service life. We recognize the impacts that trauma has on the individual and on the Family. We know that finding supports and services to help manage the impacts of trauma can be incredibly hard and frustrating. And, that’s why we are here. We are here to help fix a system that isn’t working as well as it should for you and your Family. We have your backs.
Learn more at atlasveterans.ca.
Funded by Veterans Affairs Canada
Financé par Anciens Combattants Canada