Beginning with the Gulf War, Canada entered “an era of difficult Canadian military operations and an accelerated tempo of deployments to the heart of many of the world's most complex conflicts.” This was at at time accompanied by simultaneous cuts in personnel and a downturn in recruitment. As we know, we have not traversed this era unscathed and we are now confronted with such phenomena as PTSD, homelessness, suicide and adverse impacts on the families of veterans.
Much of the suffering can be seen in research, which discerns a downward spiral towards homelessness, including financial distress; trouble finding or keeping a job; broken ties with one's family, friends and community; addiction; and mental health problems. In the 2010s we have seen a spike in research, particularly policy facing research in veteran health and well-being to help us to respond to the suffering.
This research has been catalyzed by new investments in research infrastructure that focus on military veteran and family well-being. To name a few, in 2010 we see the first life-after-service study by VAC's research directorate, as well as the establishment of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. One year later, Ray and Forchuck produced their eye-opening study on veteran homelessness. This was followed in 2012 by the launch of the Veterans Transition Network, an initiative focusing on mental health that evolved from UBC's veterans transition program, which began in 1998. In 2013, authors Van Til and others produced a research synthesis report on homelessness. The ombudsman for DND and the Canadian Forces submitted a report to the minister of national defence assessing the well-being of Canada's military families. A review of the literature on mental health and well-being of military veterans during military-to-civilian transitioning was produced by Shields and others in 2016, and in the same year we see the publication of a Canadian model for housing and support of veterans experiencing homelessness.
On a closing note, I would add that the Respect Forum was fortunate enough to be able to host a presentation about this model with Dr. Forchuck herself in Montreal in 2017.