Thank you for that question.
As you mentioned, more families now are living off base than on base. This reality has taken place over the last several decades. Now the vast majority are living off base and their spouses or partners are more likely to be in the paid labour force.
We're seeing in our research that families are often seeking mental health services in their communities, such as from family physicians or community-based mental health programs. They're going to their faith leaders. They're going to the natural place to get mental health services that you and I would go to. They are able to access the services on base, but they have to get there. There are hours of operation, so if they're working in the paid labour force, it is sometimes hard to align with those services.
One of the things we've done in our military veteran health initiative is to really focus on those community members who might be the first point of contact. We've been working with our partners across the country to build military literacy, so that if a family member or a military member phones up an EAP, goes to their family physician or goes to their local mental health provider, they are aware enough of the language. They know what a posting is, what the lifestyle is and they understand what it means to be part of a military family or to be military connected.
We're trying to build the points of contact, so that when a family member is concerned about the military member needing some kind of support, if they themselves are a caregiver or a member of the circle of support needs assistance, they'll be able to access it when and where they need it.
It's not a perfect system. There's still a lot of education and awareness to be done, but we have been able to reach all family physicians across the country. We've been able to reach early childhood educators, pediatricians and a variety of professionals from whom, hopefully, if they are the first or one of the first points of contact, a family can receive the care they need and they can get the care quickly, so there's less likelihood of cascade into crisis.