Mental Health and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Mental illness is one of the most widespread health issues in Canada, and The Royal Canadian Legion is committed to ensuring Veterans and their families have access to the help and support they need.
The mental health challenges facing Veterans, serving military and RCMP members, and their families both while serving and after release, are widespread. The exceptional roles and responsibilities these men and women undertake while in service can lead to mental health difficulties. Some Veterans have to deal with the repercussions of sustaining grave wounds, losing colleagues and friends, operational stress injuries, and transitioning to civilian life.
The Legion understands the toll serving for our country can have on individuals and we are here to offer our support. Though we cannot assist directly in the specialized area of mental health, the compassionate professionals from the Service Officer Network can assist you in finding the help you need. There are numerous programs and services available for Veterans and their families to get the help they deserve.
Immediate, emergency help is available:
- For an emergency or crisis situation, call 911.
- Call the crisis help line at 1-800-268-7708. This is a 24-hour toll-free crisis help line offering short-term professional counselling and referral services.
24 Hour Bilingual Telephone Support
The Employee Assistance Services of Health Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada, is a voluntary and confidential service to help serving and retired members (Regular Force, all Reserve Class
Members, RCMP, Cadets, Veterans), their family members as well as primary caregivers, who have personal concerns that
affect their personal well-being and/or work performance.
This service is also available through Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP) Bereavement Services and is open to a parent, a spouse, children and step children, a fiancé(e), and any other person of significance to CAF personnel who died while serving.
The service is a 24-hour, 1-800 bilingual telephone service, available 365 days, and is available free of
charge. Short and long term counselling options are available.
Reach a mental health professional at any time by calling 1-800-268-7708
For the hearing impaired, dial 1-800-567-5803 (TDD)
Family Information Line
The Family Information Line (FIL) is a confidential, personal and
bilingual service offering information, support, referrals, reassurance and
crisis management to the military community. FIL serves Canadian Armed Forces
members, Veterans and their families – immediate and extended. Trained Family
Information Line Counsellors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by
phone or email to assist you.
Contact (seven days a week, 24 hours a day):
Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) Program
OSISS provides peer support to Veterans, military members and their families who have been impacted by operational stress injuries. Peer Support Coordinators and Family Peer Support Coordinators are typically former Canadian Armed Forces members, or family members of Veterans or Canadian Armed Forces members, who know first-hand the experience of operational stress injuries and their possible impacts. Peer Support Coordinators provide hope and acceptance and can connect you to resources.
OSISS is a non-clinical addition to the mental health services of both the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada.
Find your local contact
Long term help and support available
The Legion's Service Officer Network can help you access the supports you and your family need. From assistance with access to Veterans Affairs Canada disability benefits and services, to Legion programs and supports, to referrals to specialized programs and resources, Legion services for Veterans and their families are always free and they do not need to be Legion members to benefit from these services.
The Legion partners with a number of Veterans organizations with programs to assist Veterans. Below are programs that offer services nationally. Please contact a Legion Command Service Officer for more information.
Provincial Commands also maintain information on additional resources available in their province. Please contact a Provincial Command Service Officer to inquire.