(Fade in to black screen with the Canadian Army visual identifier accompanied by a low sounding musical hum)
(Medium shot of Colonel Annie Bouchard sitting on a chair in an office. She is speaking to the camera.)
Hello, I’m Colonel Annie Bouchard and I am the Canadian Army Surgeon.
I wanted to share with you some thoughts about mental illness that I have learned during my 20 years as a physician and more than 22 years in the Army.
Over this time, I have witnessed people becoming more open talking about mental illness and asking for help when they need it. And this is very important.
Mental illness is real. And it is among our ranks and our civilian employees. No one is immune to its effects.
In our line of work and with the added pressures of home life, relationships and families – it is understandable to sometimes feel overwhelmed. People get stressed. People feel pressure.
More importantly, it is ok to get help. Everyone feels this way at some point in their lives and when you do, you need to talk to someone about how you feel so you get the support and the help you need.
There are a number of illnesses that you can have that leave no outward signs that you are even ill. But even if you can’t see it, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, or that it doesn’t need to be dealt with.
Take high blood pressure, for example. You can’t tell if someone has high blood pressure just by looking at them but it is still an illness and it needs to be addressed before it turns into a bigger problem.
It is the same with mental illness. You may not be able to see it but it is there and it has to be taken seriously.
I urge anyone who is feeling stressed, overwhelmed or just not themselves, to act. Speak with your padre or your Chain of Command; stop by the medical clinic; seek help through the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program or the Employee Assistance Program; or ask a colleague for help through the Sentinel Program. We are all here to help, you just need to ask.
There is strength in asking for help. And life is too short not to. Together we can conquer mental illness.
(Fade to black with Canadian Army tagline “Strong. Proud. Ready.” in the centre of the screen. The Canadian Army visual identifier is in the bottom right corner)
(Fade to National Defence wordmark with copyright information: Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of National Defence, 2016)
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