September 10: DM/VCDS message on World Suicide Prevention Day

September 10, 2020 – Defence Stories

Each year on September 10, World Suicide Prevention Day, we strive to raise awareness and encourage discussion about suicide and suicide prevention around the globe. Any loss by suicide is a tragic and painful one, and the impacts are felt by many. 

This year’s theme for World Suicide Prevention Day is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.” Each one of us is a key player in suicide prevention. As we continue to face the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, we need to work together.

We encourage all Defence Team members to take a minute and reach out to someone who may need support in your community, whether it be a family member, friend, or a colleague.

If you notice that someone is suffering, experiencing mental health issues, or even openly questioning the value of their own life, please offer them your support, and connect them with professional assistance. We appreciate that it might feel uncomfortable to ask about someone else’s mental health—like it’s intrusive, or none of our business. But uncomfortable or not, your concern and action could help change the course of someone’s life and prevent a tragedy. Reaching out is always the right choice.

Support and services are available for suicide prevention within the Defence Team. Both our military members and civilian employees can call 1-800-268-7708 for the Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program and the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). (Accessible only on the National Defence network.) These services are free of charge and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Civilian employees can also reach out to the EAP peer referral service during working hours.

If you or someone you know requires emergency mental healthcare, please seek help immediately, through your health care provider, your local emergency department, or call 911. Help is also available to military personnel at the nearest Canadian Armed Forces health clinic. We urge you to reach out as soon as possible. Please learn more about the resources available to you.

By continuing to work together, we are making a difference in preventing suicide.

Jody Thomas
Deputy Minister of National Defence

Lieutenant General M.N. Rouleau
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff

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