CANADA: Ottawa to start regularly tracking veteran suicides

December 18, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Globe and Mail

Veterans Affairs Canada is developing a method for annually reporting suicides of veterans that will begin in late 2017. This will be the first regular reporting of the suicides of former military members in Canada. Regular tracking of active-duty military suicides has been conducted and has shown a recent increase in numbers in the army. However, the only comprehensive study of veteran suicides, which covered 1972 to 2006, showed that veterans made up the majority of Canadian military suicides. The new data tracking effort, called the Veteran Suicide Mortality Study, will involve linking National Defence data with Statistics Canada, which includes death data from all provinces and territories. The study will include both veterans who have used the services of Veterans Affairs and those who have not.According to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr, “better tracking and reporting on suicides will help inform our suicide prevention actions.” He also said that the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs need to keep addressing mental health stigma and encouraging service members and veterans to seek help when they need it.