The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) recognizes that our people are our most important asset. As such, the well-being of our members is a top priority for the CAF, and we continue to look for ways to improve our health care programs and support services so that our members have access to evidence-based, high-quality care when they need it.
Today, the Department of National Defence and the CAF announced the release of the annual Surgeon General’s Suicide Mortality Report for 2017. The report reflects the importance of taking stock of annual trends and occurrences of suicide in the CAF so that mental health programs and services can be better aligned to meet the needs of CAF members and their families.
Every suicide is a tragedy for the members of the CAF and, importantly, the families of those we have lost. The CAF takes this issue very seriously and is continually exploring new ways to develop and enhance our existing supports and mental health programs and services. Initiatives such as the Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy and the 2016 Mental Health Expert Panel report on Suicide Prevention take an in-depth look at the multi-faceted issue of suicide and ensure we incorporate new and emerging evidence-based services to further reduce suicide risk within the CAF.
“We recognize the sacrifices that our brave women and men in uniform make in the service of our country every day. Losing a military member or a Veteran from suicide is a tragic event that impacts us all, and one suicide is too many. Taking care of our women and men in uniform is my personal priority and I remain fully committed to this obligation to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.”
Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Defence
“The health and well-being of all Canadian Armed Forces members is our highest priority. We know that the CAF has highly capable and compassionate personnel working hard to improve our support programs and services. The recently released Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy will help guide this work, and will help to ease the stressors that some experience during the transition to civilian life.”
Brigadier-General Andrew Downes, Surgeon General
- The CAF has been tracking suicide mortality since 1996 and making the results accessible to the public. In recent years, Canadian Forces Health Services has published an Annual Report on Suicide Mortality. We remain committed to detailed tracking of these rare events in an attempt to identify trends and risk factors that may be modified.
- There was no significant change or trend noted from previous years in the Surgeon General’s 2017 Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces.
Source: Media Release