The Canadian Press
OTTAWA–Canada’s war in Afghanistan ended five years ago but the price of that effort continues to grow.
Newly revealed figures show the number of veterans from the war in Afghanistan receiving federal support for mental-health conditions nearly doubled between March 2014 and March 2018.
The figures are in a report obtained from Veterans Affairs Canada through access-to-information legislation and underscore the enduring toll the war has taken on the mental health of many military members who served there. They also highlight the importance of adequate mental-health services for veterans, which successive federal governments have sought to address over the years with mixed results.
The report was provided to former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould in January upon her appointment as veterans-affairs minister, a post she held for only a few weeks before resigning amid the SNC-Lavalin affair.
According to the document, more than 6,700 military members who served in Afghanistan received disability benefits for mental-health conditions in March 2018–an increase of nearly 3,200 from the same month in 2014.
In both cases, the vast majority of those receiving benefits for mental conditions were struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder “directly related to their service in Afghanistan,” according to the report.
In fact, PTSD was found to have been the top medical diagnosis for Afghan war veterans applying for assistance.