Canadian Armed Forces
Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy
Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada
Who we are
Canada’s new Defence Policy: Strong Secure, Engaged, presents a new strategic vision for the defence of our country. It recognizes that the Government has no higher obligation than the safety and security of the Canadian people. It identifies three core themes:
- Strong at home, where our sovereignty is well defended by a combat-capable CAF which is also ready to assist in times of natural disaster, emergencies and search and rescue operations;
- Secure in North America, where we are active partners in NORAD and with the United States; and
- Engaged in the world, where we contribute to a more peaceful, stable world, through NATO, and in a variety of ways including peacekeeping and peace support operations.
It is the overarching mission of the CAF to ensure this vision is achieved – and maintained. In order to do this we must maintain a robust capacity to patrol our coasts, monitor our skies, lead search and rescue missions, and assist Canadian civilian authorities with disaster relief when called upon. The CAF also works closely with the United States at the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) to monitor and defend continental, airspace, and ocean areas. The CAF remains ready to act in the service of, and protect, Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
CAF members also participate in operations around the world. Our personnel play an active role in building a peaceful and secure world. They will lead and contribute to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and coalition efforts or International Peace Operations. CAF personnel are also engaged in capacity building and providing support to developing or war-torn nations.
What many Canadians may not be aware of, however, is the extent to which the capabilities described in the previous paragraphs depend on the sacrifices of our dedicated sailors, soldiers and airwomen and airmen, who are often separated from families, living in austere conditions and who can be asked to risk their health, well-being and ultimately their lives to ensure Canada’s security.
In order to maintain this capability, and support our members, there is a vast network of training, support, and care infrastructure in place to assure the readiness and well-being of all CAF personnel. This is why Strong, Secure, Engaged, puts people at the core of Canada’s new Defence Policy. The CAF provides comprehensive education, training, mental and spiritual health programs, world-class health care and rehabilitation programs, transition services, as well as extensive support for military families. CAF leadership is deeply committed to the overall health and well-being of every member.
Who we care for
“When they put on the uniform, members of the Canadian Armed Forces take on an unlimited liability. Because of the sacrifices they make day in and day out, Canada remains among the safest and most secure countries in the world (SSE, p. 59)” There are 68,000 Regular Force members, and 27,000 Reserve Force members, stationed across Canada and around the world, performing more than 100 specialized occupations. These personnel are further supported by 24,000 civilian employees of the Department of National Defence.
CAF suicide prevention actions apply at all stages of a CAF member’s career, from on-boarding new recruits all the way to preparing experienced members for post-service life. This includes training, helping our personnel deal with the challenges of deployments, rehabilitation programs, supporting families, and preparation for career transition at the end of military service. This is why the CAF deploys a variety of tools, programs, and actions to lower suicide risks and build resilience at every stage of a member’s career.
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