M. Jackson Group Update – October 2014 – Soldiers Wary of Treatment

M. Jackson Group Update – October 2014 –  Soldiers Wary of Treatment

This month’s article again comes from the listserv of Ken Pope. What is described here is what we often see in clients who are first responders or otherwise on the front lines of health and mental health care. Unfortunately, their fears can be reinforced by the way in which they are treated by colleagues and supervisors.  The article is as follows:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation released an article: “Soldiers’ mental health survey reveals fear of career stigma; Military watchdog efforts to reduce stigma and barriers working but more needs to be done” by Kristen Everson.

Here are some excerpts:

[begin excerpts]

One-third of Canada’s soldiers worry that seeking mental health services would harm their career, according to newly released data from the Canadian Forces Mental Health Survey.

The military’s ombudsman says the numbers suggest the message that it is OK to seek help is getting through to some soldiers — but more needs to be done.

The raw data reveals 34 per cent of soldiers agree or strongly agree that seeking mental health services would harm their military career.

Forty-seven per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed, and 19 per cent didn’t feel strongly either way.

The survey was developed by Statistics Canada with the Department of National Defence. About 6,700 regular force members and 1,500 reservists were interviewed from April to August in 2013.

Participants were selected based on a random sample of the total population of full-time Canadian Forces members.


The numbers given to CBC News are a snapshot of a larger survey to be released next month, and include only responses from regular force members.

National Defence launched the survey to look for possible barriers to Canadian Forces members getting care.

A rash of suicides in late 2013 and early 2014 thrust mental illness and mental health support in Canada’s military into the spotlight.

This survey was conducted before those incidents, but during a time when Canada’s mission in Afghanistan was ending and concern about mental health support was on the rise.


Canada’s military ombudsman called the preliminary data “disconcerting.”


Members were also asked whether they would prefer to seek mental health services on their own. Forty per cent agreed or strongly agreed, 38 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed and 21 per cent did not feel strongly either way.

One official suggested this may lead the military to design tools to allow members to seek help online.


Johanna Quinney, spokeswoman for the minister of defence, said the health and well-being of soldiers remains a top priority for the government.

“Whether wounds are physical or mental, members who are battling illness or injury now have greater access to specialized care than ever before. We personally encourage all those in need to reach out, get help and benefit from these services,” she said in a statement.

[end excerpts]

The article is online at:

Ken Pope


“[T]he good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”
–Jane Addams (1860-1935), founder of U.S. social work profession, women’s suffrage leader, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize