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North Island-Powell River MP wants women veterans included in development of mental health treatment guidelines

Rachel Blaney identified gaps in Canadian Armed Forces medical system, including lack of OBGYNs
North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney speaks in the House of Commons on Nov. 14, 2022. Photo courtesy YouTube

North Island-Powell River MP Rachel Blaney wants women veterans included in the development of CANMAT Guidelines.

CANMAT is the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments, and they issue treatment guidelines for improving clinical care for people with mood and anxiety disorders. Those guidelines include treatments for perinatal anxiety, mood disorders and other related issues. Blaney wrote a letter to mental health and addictions minister Carolyn Bennett to ensure that women veterans are included in the development of these guidelines.

“I have heard from women veterans as well as military and civilian doctors that women veterans are not well-represented and are even invisible in research for women-specific health issues,” Blaney wrote in her letter to Bennett. “We simply do not have enough information or research on how serving in the military, combat, and deployment affect the reproductive health of women serving in the military.

Blaney started a Parliamentary study into the treatment of injuries and diseases that affect women in the Canadian Armed Forces. However, Blaney already noted that there are gaps in care for women.

“Although the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has its own medical system it does not employ OBGYNs. These are clearly identifiable gaps that affect the health and well-being of women serving in the military and also after their service as Veterans. Further, it affects their ability to access adequate resources and support, especially if their injuries are not recognized or taken seriously while they are serving in the forces,” she says, asking Bennett to “include women veterans in the process of creating guidelines for the treatment of perinatal mood, anxiety and related disorders.

“Doing so will better enable us to ensure we are able to provide adequate support and resources for women veterans, who have bravely and selflessly risked their lives to protect Canadians.”

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