Queen’s University-based researchers are leading Canada’s contribution to an international treatment effort for veterans and military families.
The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is among the agencies researching post-traumatic mental health and treatment for serving military, veterans and their families.
CIMVHR is part of the 5-Eyes Mental Health Research (5-Eyes MRIC) and Innovation Collaboration that brings together researchers from the five English-speaking allied nations — Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
The group was announced in October in conjunction with a conference by 5-Eyes veterans ministers in Sydney and at its inaugural meeting the group discussed issues including suicide prevention, strengthening engagement in care and improving treatment outcomes.
“Too many current and ex-serving military personnel suffer mental health effects from their service which can have a profound and long-lasting impact, not only on themselves but also their families,” Prof. David Pedlar, scientific director of CIMVHR, said. “We urgently need to work to increase knowledge and improve outcomes.”
CIMVHR involves researchers at 43 Canadian universities who are working on health research for military members, veterans and their families.
The group is being led by the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health.
It also includes Britain’s Combat Stress and King’s College, New Zealand’s Defence Chief of Mental Health and the National Center for PTSD, the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, the Uniformed Services University, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the United States.
“This is the first time that an expert collaboration will focus on mental health priorities across both the military and veteran sectors,” Prof. David Forbes, director of Phoenix Australia, said. “The 5-Eyes nations have highlighted the need for a policy and problem-solving perspective that takes a lifelong approach — from military service to veteran life — and this group will deliver exactly that.”
The 5-Eyes MRIC is to be independent of the governments of the nations involved and is to meet annually and communicate periodically with the government organizations to make sure research is in line with policy-related priorities.