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Ottawa gives $2.9-million boost to program helping veterans find work

Minister of Veterans Affairs Kent in the House of Commons in Ottawa on March 7, 2016.

FRED CHARTRAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The federal government is contributing $2.9 million for a program to help veterans struggling with mental health problems to find jobs.

The money is going to the Mood Disorders Society of Canada to help provide vets with skills training and support they need to find work.

Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr says his department will also contribute in-kind support to the project in the form of promotion, expertise and advice.

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The program will provide employment assistance services to vulnerable veterans suffering from conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Participants will get employment placements or assistance to return to school.

The program will bring the federal government, mental health organizations, stakeholder groups, homeless shelters and local employers together to roll out 48 programs, over a three-year period, in Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

The department says this will complement existing programs designed to help veterans make the transition to civilian life.

"Living with mental health issues can be extremely difficult, not only for those who have them, but also for their loved ones," Hehr said in a statement.

"This skills training and support project will make a real difference in the lives of the participants."

Phil Upshall, national executive director of the Mood Disorders Society of Canada, said the idea is to help vets who have fallen between the cracks and need help.

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"The program will provide veterans, who have been struggling with employment barriers, with the personal and professional skills to transition into the new normal of living through skills development, employment and renewed community engagement," Upshall said.

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