The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs  and Minister for La Francophonie, today joined Dr. Raj Bhatla, Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Chief of Staff of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group (The Royal), to launch a new mobile application that will assist Veterans, personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with operational stress injuries (OSIs). The app, called OSI Connect, provides information and assistance for people living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, substance abuse and other types of OSIs, as well as their family members.
“Our Government commends The Royal and its OSI clinic for providing support and information at the touch of a button for those who are suffering as a result of their service to Canada,” said Minister Blaney. “In collaboration with the OSI Clinic Network, this new app will make a real difference for our nation’s heroes who are living with PTSD or other operational stress injuries.”
OSI Connect was created by the Royal Ottawa OSI Clinic, which is one of 10 OSI clinics across Canada funded by VAC. The app is also a resource for professionals who work with individuals who could be suffering from an OSI. They include physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, social workers and community workers at detox centres and homeless shelters.
“This mobile app is a new channel for Veterans and serving personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP to get information and resources on operational stress injuries without any stigma,” said George Weber, President and CEO of The Royal, the only specialized mental health and academic health sciences centre of the OSI Clinic Network. “We hope it will encourage those who are suffering the very painful and disturbing effects of operational stress injuries and who may not be aware of services or how to go about getting help.”
OSI clinics specialize in treating conditions that come from combat, high stress or operational fatigue. Each clinic has a dedicated professional team that includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health nurses, and other specialized clinicians who provide assessment, treatment, prevention and support. They use their knowledge of the military and police environments to develop personalized OSI treatment plans. OSI Connect is free and available in English and French (Connexion TSO) from iTunes, BlackBerry and Android app stores.