The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) released statistics in September, 2014 on the number of suicides among its members. Although the CAF reports no significant change in suicide rates since 1995, others see the numbers differently. For example, many are emphasizing that there have been more Canadian soldiers who have died by suicide since 2004 than died in Afghanistan. That is 160 soldiers compared to 138 soldiers, respectively. These numbers include men and women in regular force personnel as well as those on the reserve force. However, they do not have a large enough female sample and are consequently only reflective of how male CAF suicide rates compare to males in the general population. The CAF report comes in the wake of a series of highly publicized military suicides as well as an update that the 40 mental health staff positions, which the CAF said were a priority nine months ago, have still not been filled. These positions represent almost 10 per cent of CAF’s mental health workforce. Finally, although 54 mental health staff have been hired since January 2014, the wait times for initial assessments at Operational Trauma and Stress Support Centres have increased in four out of the seven clinics.
Read the full report on Suicide and suicide prevention in the Canadian Armed Forces.