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Our vision for an accessible, coordinated mental health system for Veterans and their Families.

The Atlas Institute and Phoenix Australia — Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health collaborated to develop a conceptual framework — one that envisions the best mental health system for Veterans and their Families.

It all started with a question — how do we best support Veterans and their Families?

What is a conceptual framework?

Picture a detailed blueprint or recipe. These contain the crucial tools, steps and methods you need to achieve an end goal. This is similar to a conceptual framework.

A conceptual framework outlines and draws connections between facts and ideas to promote action. It pulls together a large amount of information and builds one coherent structure.

Technical document: The “complete” Conceptual Framework

Executive summary: A high-level overview of the main points of the Framework

Plain language synopsis: A version of the Framework using everyday language

Guide for intermediary organizations: A resource for organizations like ourselves who want to support Veterans and their Families. We recommend reading it alongside the conceptual framework

Why it matters

The framework envisions a new system of mental health services and supports for Veterans and their Families. This vision is our guiding light as we work to achieve our goal. The framework provides a sense of where our work is going and how we plan to get there — together.

Successfully actioning this framework requires the involvement and support of all stakeholders: Veterans, Veteran Family Members, service providers, researchers, governments, community partners and others.

What’s inside

The framework is organized into three main sections: the why, the what and the how of our vision and why we need the framework, what the framework aims to do and how to act on this framework.

The sections contain:

  • Definitions of post-traumatic mental health in Veterans and their Families
  • Facts and statistics on the well-being of Veterans and their Families
  • A summary of an ideal system of services and supports
  • An overview of different types of services and what is known about them so far
  • An outline of the key tools and strategies needed to implement our vision


Veterans and Veteran Families have unique and diverse experiences and needs when it comes to mental health services and supports. There are various challenges and gaps in the current system that are causing inefficiencies. This needs to change.

Built on seven key principles, our framework advocates for the development of a new system of services and supports — one that prioritizes the needs and voices of Veterans and Veteran Families. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, our aim is to help create a system that meets Veterans and Veteran Families where they are, offering the right care at the right time.

Implementing this new system of services and supports is no easy task. It requires collaboration with Veterans, Veteran Family Members, service providers, researchers and others. Vital components of our approach include research, knowledge mobilization, stakeholder engagement and implementation.

Together, these components allow us to create and share knowledge about how best to support Veterans and Veteran Families and how integrate that knowledge into practice. It allows us to go forward into a future where Veterans and their Family members are never alone or misunderstood.

Research: Gathering data and facts to better understand questions and quandaries.

Knowledge Mobilization: Making information accessible to and usable by those who want it.

Stakeholder Engagement: Building meaningful relationships with individuals, groups and organizations who support Veterans and their Families.

Implementation: Bringing evidence-based practice into the real world.


Discover the four zones of focus that guide our work.