Saskatchewan Operational Stress Injury
The Saskatchewan Operational Stress Injury Clinic is part of a national network of Operational Stress Injury (OSI) clinics funded by Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC). The Saskatchewan OSI Clinic is operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and is staffed with a team of specialized mental health professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists, and clinical social workers/mental health clinicians.
The Saskatchewan OSI Clinic opened in June 2018, and is the first clinic of its’ kind in Saskatchewan.
There are different professional groups represented at the OSI Clinic, and each plays a unique role. However, these differences are not always clear to the general public. This is why some people who use health services are puzzled by the number of different professionals they are asked to see. This section gives a brief overview of those professions and what they do.
- A psychiatrist is a medical doctor (MD) who has taken an additional 4 – 5 years of training in mental health. Psychiatrists provide psychotherapy, medication therapy, and consultation, but their exclusive or unique service is the use of medication. A consult with a psychiatrist would be recommended to assess your overall medical history, your specific OSI concerns, and to discuss whether or not medication would be helpful.
- A clinical psychologist is a professional who has earned a PhD or PsyD in psychology and qualified as a Clinical Psychologist. Psychologists provide psychological assessments, psychotherapy, and consultation. Their exclusive or unique area of practice is standardized assessment. You would see a psychologist for detailed testing and for ongoing therapy.
- Occupational therapists are an allied health profession trained in many different areas, including mental health. Occupational therapy helps to promote recovery through engagement in meaningful activities, focusing on what a client wants to do, needs to do, or is expected to do. Some of the areas occupational therapists focus on at the OSI Clinic include building healthy living skills, self-management skills, developing sensory modulation strategies, chronic pain education, etc. A referral to an occupational therapist is made on an individual basis depending on a client’s needs.
- A clinical Social Worker is a professional who has earned a Master of Social Work degree from an accredited University and who is registered with the Saskatchewan Association of Social Workers to practice in the province of Saskatchewan. Master Social Workers provide assessments, psychotherapy and consultation. You would see a social worker for assessment, treatment recommendations and for individual, couple and group therapy on a variety of mental health and addiction issues.
History of the Operational Stress Injury Clinic Network
Operational Stress Injury Clinics were established so specialized mental health care for members and veterans of the Canadian Forces and RCMP would be accessible in a comprehensive and client centered clinical program.
The development of the OSIC network has served to ensure the mental health needs of members and veterans of the forces and RCMP are addressed in a both a timely and effective manner.
What is an OSI?
Veterans Affairs Canada has defined operational stress injuries as any persistent psychological difficulties resulting from operational duties performed while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) or as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Mental health conditions such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and sleep disorders, depression, and substance abuse are some of the common OSIs treated at the Saskatchewan OSI Clinic.
Programs and Services
The Saskatchewan OSI Clinic focuses on providing: outreach, consultation, comprehensive assessments, and evidence-based treatment for operationally related mental health injuries. Treatment is tailored to the needs of each individual and includes education, individual or group therapy, or medication as appropriate.
Who can access services?
The clinic supports members and veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces and RCMP. Families are also eligible to obtain clinical services as they pertain to operational stress and the impact it often has on the family unit.
How to initiate the referral process to access services:
Veterans and their families can call VAC toll-free at 1-866-522-2122; still serving CAF members can contact their base Medical Officer; and RCMP personnel can contact their RCMP medical doctor or divisional psychologist.
What to expect once you've been referred:
Once your referral is received we will arrange an initial assessment appointment. This assessment will help us better conceptualize your individual needs as they pertain to your service related operational stress/operational stress injuries.
The OSIC maintains a collaborative team approach to ensure that all relevant professionals are involved in your care. Our clinical philosophy is client centered; therefore, your provider will work closely with you to decide what treatment options are most suitable throughout the duration of your care.
News and Updates
- Visit the VAC website for more information: OSI Clinics - Veterans Affairs Canada