A new country-wide strategy has been unveiled by the federal government, that is aimed at helping members of the military, and veterans deal with stress from mental health issues.
This comes after concerns over the number of service members and veterans who have committed suicide recently.
It is a joint initiative by the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada.
Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Reagan says there’s no easy answer to suicide, but they are hoping this joint-strategy will help reduce the risk, “This is a very difficult thing to gauge, whether or not you have prevented a suicide. This is not an exact science. We will use the data to make sure our programs are targeted to the right people.”
— Seamus O’Regan (@SeamusORegan) October 5, 2017
O’Reagan says their first step is to acquire more data, and they will be working with Statistics Canada to get that.
Parliamentary Secretary Sherry Romanado says the first step in their strategy is to acquire more data, “I think what is going to be even more important in addition to having data collection, is having that conversations with our service men and women and their families. We have to have a constant dialogue.”
Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance says identifying the signs and symptoms of suicide, especially in the post deployment stage is very important, so that a person can get help, “Everybody is encouraged to seek assistance, and remove the barriers to care. In fact, encouraging mental health preparedness is like physical preparedness. We have to see each ourselves that way. Mental resilience is like physical resilience, you need to work on it, your can’t assume it.”
According to National Defence, more than 130 serving military personnel have taken their own lives since 2010, including eight who died between January and August this year.
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) October 5, 2017