VAC Releases Veteran Suicide Mortality Study
December 7, 2017 – Ottawa – Veterans Affairs Canada
The Government of Canada understands and appreciates the tremendous contribution Veterans have made in service to our country. Canada owes a debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served in uniform and it is our responsibility to ensure that they have access to the resources they need to support their well-being.
Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), in partnership with Department of National Defence and Statistics Canada, released its Veteran Suicide Mortality Study today. The goal of the study is to enhance our understanding of factors associated with suicide in Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans, to provide updates on suicide trends over time, to aid in the discussion of suicide prevention activities, and to respond to the public expectation for timely reporting.
The findings of this study validate the high priority placed on developing the CAF and VAC Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy, announced in October. The action plan in the strategy focuses on the military to civilian transition period and is particularly relevant for male Veterans in the highest risk age group, those under age 25.
“The Veteran Suicide Mortality Study is an important step in better understanding suicide within the Veteran community. This study complements our recently announced Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy and gives us greater perspective as we continue to build better services and supports for Veterans and their families.”
Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.
Continuous improvement in suicide prevention through research is one of the seven key lines of effort in the CAF and VAC Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy.
VAC worked in collaboration with DND and Statistics Canada in order to better identify Veterans’ death records in Canadian Vital Statistics databases.
The risk of suicide for Veterans was consistently higher than for the general population over the 37 years of data included in the study.
The higher risk of suicide for young male Veterans in Canada was similar to findings in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The risk of suicide among male Veterans was 1.4 times higher than the general population. In particular, the risk was highest among males under age 25.
The risk of suicide among female Veterans was 1.8 times higher than the general population.
Findings from this study will be used to inform suicide prevention for Veterans.
Further analyses will be conducted to examine factors associated with suicide in the Veteran population.
CAF recently published a report entitled 2017 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces 1995 to 2016.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs
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