An OSI is defined as any persistent psychological difficulty resulting from operational duties performed while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police. OSIs include diagnosed mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other conditions that may be less severe, but interfere with daily functioning.
When to seek help
It is normal to have stress reactions after a traumatic event. Your emotions and behaviours can change in ways that are upsetting to you. Even though most people experience stress reactions following a trauma, they get better in time. You should seek help if your symptoms:
- cause you great distress, and
- disrupt your home or work life.
What is an anxiety disorder?
People with anxiety disorders have an excessive degree of anxiety that can sometimes lead to episodes of panic. Symptoms of anxiety can include racing thoughts, excessive worry, racing heart, trouble breathing and more.
What is depression?
Depression is a medical disorder. Symptoms of depression can include persistent low mood, low interest, problems sleeping, changes in appetite and can include thoughts of suicide.
What is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)?
PTSD is a mental health condition that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.
There are four types of PTSD symptoms:
- Reliving the event including nightmares and flashbacks;
- Avoiding situations that remind you of the event;
- Ngative changes in beliefs or feelings; and
- Feeling keyed up or irritable including difficulty sleeping, concentrating or being easily startled.
What is moral injury?
Military service puts people at heightened risk of being exposed to events that disturb or undermine deeply held moral beliefs about how people can be expected to behave. For example, service members may be confronted with experiences in which innocent, vulnerable people have been subjected to violence. These experiences can result in lasting emotional distress. This is referred to as a moral injury.
Substance misuse and OSIs
Substance misuse is the harmful use of substances (like drugs and alcohol) for non-medical purposes. The term “substance misuse” often refers to illegal drugs. However legal substances can also be misused including alcohol, prescription medications, caffeine, nicotine and volatile substances.