Nicholson says DND reviewing further mental health improvements; mum on details - InfoNews

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Nicholson says DND reviewing further mental health improvements; mum on details

January 27, 2014 - 12:25 PM

OTTAWA - Opposition MPs are asking why National Defence is just getting around to hiring mental health professionals 18 months after it promised to do so.

A scarcity of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and addiction counsellors has dogged the department for years, but a recent bout of suicides — as many as 10 in the last two months — has brought the adequacy of staffing into the spotlight.

NDP Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair is calling on the prime minister to make the suicide crisis a personal priority.

Defence Minister Rob Nicholson says mental health services have been a priority, but the government is also reviewing whether further enhancements are needed.

He did not elaborate.

The Canadian Forces ombudsman pointed out in a 2012 report that the military's medical branch has never reached its goal of 447 mental health workers and the latest statistics show the numbers have barely budged since the government promised action.

There are only 388 staff mental health staff across the country, nine more than in September 2012.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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