2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey
For more information, please contact Dr. Mark Zamorski.
The health needs, including mental health needs, of military personnel are a priority for the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces. As part of this commitment, Statistics Canada is conducting the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey on behalf of Canadian Forces Health Services Group.
The 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey is an essential step in continuing to protect the health and well being of personnel because it will provide valuable information on the mental health of the Canadian Armed Forces population. The results will help ensure that mental health resources are targeted and allocated appropriately and that programs and services are meeting the unique needs of military personnel.
Results from the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey will be available in 2014.
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Beginning in late March 2013, Statistics Canada will be contacting randomly selected individuals to invite their voluntary participation. Maximum participation is essential to the success of the survey and all those who are invited to participate are encouraged to do so. The survey interviews will take place starting in mid-April and will continue through the end of August.
- Why is the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey significant and how will the results be used?
- What are the objectives of the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey?
- How will the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey be conducted?
- When will the results be made available?
- Who will be surveyed in the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey?
- Why are reservists who have not deployed or who deployed on other missions and veterans excluded?
- Are there any privacy concerns associated with the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey?
- How can personnel become involved in the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey?
- Will Reservists be paid for the time it takes for them to complete the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey?
- Where will interviews take place?
- What are the costs associated with the survey?
- When was the last Mental Health Survey conducted?
- What was learned from the 2002 Mental Health Survey?
- What is the relationship between the 2013 Mental Health Survey and the Health and Lifestyle Information Survey 2013/2014?
- Where can I get more information about the 2013 Mental Health Survey?
- How will you know if the survey is scientifically validated?
A1. The Canadian Armed Forces survey is an essential step in continuing to protect the health and well being of military personnel. It is an opportunity to accurately determine where the Canadian Armed Forces efforts to care for its personnel can most effectively be targeted and enhanced. The results will help ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces' comprehensive mental health system and resources are targeted and allocated appropriately and that programs and services are meeting the unique needs of personnel.
As in 2002, Statistics Canada has undertaken the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health and Well-being. This provides an excellent opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to compare its population to the general Canadian population by also assessing personnel using the same basic methodology.
While the Canadian Armed Forces has done research on those who have sought care, little is known about those who have not accessed care. This survey will provide insight into this group.
A2. The survey's objectives are to:
- Determine the extent to which the Canadian Armed Forces’ renewed mental health system has influenced the need for mental health services.
- Determine the effect of the mission in Afghanistan on the need for mental health services among currently serving Regular and Reserve Force personnel.
A3. This national survey will be conducted in conjunction with Statistics Canada and will be based on face-to-face interviews with a random sample of Regular and Reserve Force personnel. Beginning at the end of March 2013, Statistics Canada will be contacting randomly selected individuals to invite their voluntary participation. Pre-arranged face-to-face interviews with Statistics Canada personnel will begin in mid-April 2013 on designated bases and wings. Data collection and analysis will follow, results are expected in summer 2014, and individual responses will be kept strictly confidential.
A4. It is expected that results of the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey will be made available in summer 2014.
A5. Both Regular and Reserve Force personnel will be surveyed. The sample size for Regular Force personnel is expected to be 7000 personnel. The Reserve Force sample will be comprised of the population previously deployed to the mission in Afghanistan and is likely to be a complete census of this population (approximately 2500 personnel). Only currently serving personnel are eligible for the survey. The sample will be representative with respect to gender, rank and environment.
A6. The Regular Force sample will provide an adequate representation of those who have not deployed and those who have deployed on other missions. Reservists often live, work and seek healthcare outside of a military environment, and it would be difficult to control for how these factors contribute to their mental health. Veterans are not included in the survey because it will measure the impact of the Canadian Armed Forces health system on current members. Veterans Affairs Canada conducts other studies on the population that it supports and consults with the Canadian Armed Forces when relevant.
A7. The Statistics Act ensures that any personal information provided throughout the survey process remains confidential. As well, information collected on health is stored and analysed according to the strict privacy rules and regulations. Canadian Armed Forces personnel and representatives will not have access to what any participant has stated during his or her interview.
A8. Randomly selected subjects will be contacted directly by Statistics Canada personnel. All personnel invited to participate in this important survey are encouraged to partake and to respond to interviewers as honestly and as accurately as possible. Commanders at all levels will facilitate the conduct of the survey to the greatest extent possible.
A9. Reservists who complete the survey will receive pay for a half day. Time sheets with the financial code for the survey will be provided by interviewers.
A10. Interviews will take place in a private location in the workplace or, if preferred, in the member's home.
A11. The estimated budget for the 2013 Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey is $4.6 million. The Canadian Armed Forces Mental Health Survey has been incorporated into the Chief Military Personnel Business Plan for 2011-2014.
A12. The last survey of this nature was conducted in 2002 prior to the mission in Afghanistan to help inform the renewal of the Canadian Armed Forces' mental health system. The survey was conducted in coordination with the Canadian Community Health Survey - Mental Health and Well-being, which provided an opportunity to compare results with those of the general Canadian population.
A13. In 2002, Statistics Canada performed a detailed mental health survey of Canadian Armed Forces personnel, which established the extent of unmet need for mental health services at that time and helped determine current Canadian Armed Forces staffing requirements. Since then, the Canadian Armed Forces have greatly strengthened the mental health system but the mission in Afghanistan has exposed larger numbers personnel to greater adversity than at any time in recent memory. It is unknown how these two opposing factors have influenced the need for mental health services.
A14. The 2013 Mental Health Survey and the Health and Lifestyle Information Survey 2013/2014 are two separate studies. However, they are both important tools for measuring the health of personnel and the effectiveness of programs and services.
The Mental Health Survey will ask questions specifically related to mental health and well-being, and the survey method is a one-on-one interview with Statistics Canada personnel. The Health and Lifestyle Information Survey will ask questions about the physical and mental health status of personnel, their behavioural risk factors, utilization of health promotion programs and health services, and satisfaction with the Canadian Armed Forces’ health system.
The Health and Lifestyle Information Survey 2013/2014 will be sent to 4000 Reserve and 6500 Regular Force randomly selected personnel in three batches, starting in April 2013. The two following batches will be sent in September 2013 and January 2014. All Reserve and most Regular Force survey participants will receive a mail survey. However, a small subsample selected from the Regular Force will receive an electronic survey.
It is expected that a small number of personnel will be asked to complete both surveys. All personnel invited to participate in these surveys are encouraged to partake. Commanders at all levels will facilitate the conduct of the survey to the greatest extent possible.
A16. As with the 2002 survey, the stakeholders proposed determining the sample size and stratification scheme for the study by targeting a plus or minus 0.5 per cent margin of error around a prevalence estimate of 4 per cent. In the case of previously-deployed Reservists, this will likely result in a complete census of the previously-deployed population that is still serving at the time of the survey (estimated to be approximately 2500 individuals). For Regular Force personnel, this will result in a sample size of around 7000.
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