OTTAWA – Canada’s military ombudsman says National Defence has not hired enough psychiatrists and other mental-health professionals to deal with a tide of post-traumatic stress cases that is hitting its peak.
Pierre Daigle released a hard-hitting report Monday that challenges many of the reassurances the Harper government has given about the treatment of soldiers returning from the Afghan war.
He says there’s a big gap between what the system is capable of delivering and what it actually does for troops who’ve witnessed horrors overseas, and for their families.
The biggest challenge is the department’s “chronic inability” to staff a system of operational stress injury clinics, which have sprung up on bases across the country.
In some instances, the system is operating with 15 to 22 per cent fewer caregivers than needed.
Daigle says the government’s drive to slash the deficit should not touch military mental-health services.