Release of 2020 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces
June 2, 2021 - Defence Stories
Deaths due to suicide have a devastating impact on families, friends and communities. It is a major health concern here in Canada and around the world.
Each year, worldwide, close to 800,000 people of all ages, races, backgrounds, religions, and economic classes die by suicide. Unfortunately, the Canadian Armed Forces is not immune. Every loss of a CAF member is a tragedy.
The Department of National Defence (DND) has released an annual Report on Suicide Mortality since 2008, which provides valuable information on deaths due to suicide in the actively serving CAF population. The 2020 Report is an update covering the period from 1995 to 2019. From 1995 to 2019, there was no statistically significant change in the overall suicide rate as analyzed in the report. The number of Regular Force males who died by suicide is consistent with the age-adjusted male suicide rates in the Canadian general population. Every death due to suicide that is reported to Canadian Forces Health Services is investigated. That said, the statistical analysis in the 2020 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces focuses on Regular Force males because the number of known deaths due to suicide in females and Reserve Force members is too small for accurate statistical analysis.
The reasons for deaths due to suicide can be complex, and there are typically multiple potential contributing factors for each death from suicide. The findings from this report will advance National Defence’s knowledge of this issue by helping to refine our understanding of the factors influencing suicide in the CAF. The report will also assist the Department of National Defence in continuing to make evidence-based decisions about its investments in the CAF health and support programs.
“In addition to reducing the stigma around mental health issues, we are constantly working to improve the high-quality health care programs and services that we offer to our members. As clinicians, we know how important it is to remove barriers to care and support those in crisis. This means encouraging an open dialogue when it comes to mental health, and investing in the education and awareness programs required to help our members.”
Major-General Marc Bilodeau
Surgeon General of the Canadian Armed Forces
The DND/CAF recognize the sacrifices CAF personnel and their families make while serving their country. Therefore, the best possible health care and support is provided to our members.
If you or someone you know needs help, reach out to your base or wing health clinic and/or choose from a variety of mental health and wellness tools and resources:
- Defence Team COVID-19 mental health and wellness
- Canadian Forces Member Assistance Program (CFMAP)
- Wellness Together Canada (you are now leaving the Government of Canada website)
- Mental health resources for Canadian Armed Forces members and families
- The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR)
- Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) (you are now leaving the Government of Canada website)
- Strengthening the Forces
- Chaplain services
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