Advocates worry longer wait times for PTSD, psychological trauma new norm for Veterans Affairs

Veterans advocates say they are concerned Veterans Affairs may accept longer wait times for access to treatment for PTSD and other psychological trauma as the norm.

The concern is raised as the agency acknowledges demand for mental-health services is outpacing available resources.

Veterans Affairs says it hopes to address the challenge by hiring more staff, expanding existing clinics and opening new satellite offices.

The January report examined performance at 10 of the department's Operational Stress Injury clinics during 2016-17.

It found that while the majority of veterans received their first clinical visit within 15 days of a referral, only 27 per cent who needed specialized treatment without a psychiatrist were seen within 30 days of a referral.

Actual wait times varied on where the clinic was located, with veterans in Winnipeg and Ottawa having swift access to a psychiatrist while those in Edmonton, Montreal and Vancouver could expect to wait much longer.