The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) today announced the release of the annual Surgeon General’s Suicide Mortality Report for 2016. 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.
Suicide is a tragedy and an important public health concern.Mental illness is a complex issue that the CAF takes very seriously. The CAF is continually exploring new ways to develop and enhance our existing mental health programs and services. Initiatives such as reducing barriers to care, the Suicide Expert Panel and the monitoring of scientific literature take in-depth looks at the multi-faceted issue of suicide by reviewing new and emerging best practices in the field and how they may be incorporated into our existing services to further reduce suicide risk in the CAF.
“While the Canadian Armed Forces has many excellent programs and services in place to address suicide risk, we can, and must, do better. We are working towards a suicide prevention strategy that will identify areas in which to focus further effort. As Minister, 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 and their families is my highest priority. I am confident that the Surgeon General will put in place extensive suicide-prevention programs supported by highly capable and compassionate personnel. That said, one suicide is one too many.”
General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff