Minister and CDS issue statements about suicide report

The Minister of National Defence and the Chief of the Defence Staff yesterday issued statements regarding the 2015 Surgeon General Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, issued the following the statement:

“Throughout my career I have seen first-hand the demands of military service, and the sometimes enormous impact it can have on members and their families. This is particularly relevant given our long combat mission in Afghanistan.  I also know that the CAF has done much to address the barriers to care, including stigma, and provides excellent health care and support to its men and women in uniform.  However, I am concerned about the findings of the recent CAF report indicating an increased rate of suicide amongst CAF members.  As Minister, taking care of our people is my personal priority.  I am fully committed to live up to our obligation to Canadian Armed Forces members and their families.

“I have asked the Chief of the Defence Staff to examine this issue as a priority and to identify a way forward.”

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Jonathan Vance, issued the following statement:
“I have seen the Surgeon General’s report on suicide in the Canadian Armed Forces and I am concerned. The health and well-being of all Canadian Armed Forces members and their families is, as you know, my highest priority.  We already have an extensive suicide prevention program in place, supported by highly-capable and compassionate personnel, but clearly we must continually strive to improve.
“As directed by the Minister, I will take action to determine what needs to be done to get our members the help they need. 
“To all members of the Canadian Armed Forces, if you think that you, or someone you know needs help, get it now. Go to your nearest Canadian Armed Forces health clinic or civilian emergency health care centre. All levels of the Canadian Armed Forces leadership, and I, support you. You are not alone.”