Video—Veterans Affairs Canada can do a better job of helping veterans get timely access to specialized mental health services

Audit at a Glance—Mental Health Services for Veterans
(Chapter 3—Fall 2014 Report of the Auditor General of Canada)

Video Transcript

In our audit of mental health services for veterans, we found that Veterans Affairs Canada has put in place important mental health supports.

However, in many cases, the Department is not doing enough to facilitate veterans’ timely access to mental health services and benefits.

Veterans Affairs Canada needs to do more to overcome the barriers that slow veterans’ access to services and benefits. These barriers are a complex application process, delays in obtaining medical and service records from National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, and long wait times for getting access to qualified health care professionals in government-funded operational stress injury clinics.

This means that, from the time they first contact Veterans Affairs Canada, about 20 percent of veterans have to wait more than 8 months before the Department gives them a green light to access specialized mental health services.

We also looked at what Veterans Affairs Canada is doing to increase awareness among various stakeholder groups of the supports it makes available to veterans.

We found that the Department delivers a variety of outreach activities that target its existing clients and soldiers being released from military service. However, it could do more to reach other groups who can encourage veterans to seek help, including in particular family doctors and families of veterans.