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Milnet.ca => Canadian Forces Medical Group => Mental Health => Topic started by: Berenguei on July 25, 2006, 19:08:10

Title: Suicides
Post by: Berenguei on July 25, 2006, 19:08:10
There was an article today in ''Le Journal de Montréal''. You'll find the link right here:

http://cf.news.yahoo.com/s/25072006/3/national-de-plus-en-plus-de-suicides.html

Roughly, the article refers to the suicide rate for soldiers coming back from deployments. They also brush on PDSS and the position of the CF on the matter.

So let it rip bros...what do you think about the article, but more important, its content.

B.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: charlesm on July 25, 2006, 19:45:36
Does anyone know of an English Translation for this article?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Hatchet Man on July 25, 2006, 19:54:46
Does anyone know of an English Translation for this article?

if you search for the article in google, you can get the option to translate the page.  There are web translators, they are crude, but you get the gist of whatever it is being translated.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: The Anti-Royal on July 26, 2006, 08:16:27
". . . [t]hey also brush on PDSS and . . ."

Do you mean PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)?  PDSS, if I remember correctly, is the acronym for Persons of Designated Special Status.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Berenguei on July 26, 2006, 08:36:17
Oops...sorry. Yep, that's what I had in mind. Being french Canadian, I tried my very best translation as far as acronyms goes...screwed up.

Sorry about that fellas !
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: NiTz on July 26, 2006, 19:43:57
I'm sorry for the big post, but there's the translation (from me)

The suicide rate in the Canadian Forces has gone from 1 for 8000 soldiers in 1990 to 1 for 4000 in 2004.
This is, at least, what the Journal de Montréal reports in it's Tuesday's edition.
According to this newspaper, who consulted highly censored documents obtained with the Information access law, 184 soldiers attempted to their lives since 1990. Among them, more than 1/3 were back from a peacekeeping mission overseas.
The official information indicates at least 10 suicides and around 60 attempts. These numbers remain constant but the number of regular force members don't stop decreasing, going from 88000 members to 52000 members in 15 years, and the number of missions is always increasing. The currently serving military personnel is then deployed more often.
The Press has recently revealed that the number of psychiatric troubles, mostly PTSD and depression, has got an increase of 400% in 5 years.
The Press investigation has attributed this realty to the missions, that are always increasing in number, and that are always more dangerous.
Internal notes form the DND, obtained by Le journal de Montréal, indicates that the number of suicides and attempts that are declared in the statistics are only the top of the iceberg.
Most of the cases would not be reported or are not investigated by the military police.

I hope the translation is good enough... have a nice day!

Cheers !

Nitz
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on July 26, 2006, 21:32:55
Lies, damn lies and statistics.

You can twist these numbers any way you like, but the spike Psych problems, IMHO are largely due to the active searching for them by an ever growing psychiatric medicine arm within the CF.

The "councilling" that soldiers get now is almost geared to telling them that they are sick if they don't have a problem and of course, there is always the issue of those who exagerate problems in an effort to get a pension.

I believe (and I'm sure someone here will disagree) that the psychiatric medicine arm is engaged in a massive "make work" project here, and that suicide rates within the CF bear little difference from the civilian populace - which is a normal thing, because we are supposed to represent the Canadian population - right?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 17thRecceSgt on July 26, 2006, 22:31:43
Lies, damn lies and statistics.

You can twist these numbers any way you like, but the spike Psych problems, IMHO are largely due to the active searching for them by an ever growing psychiatric medicine arm within the CF.

The "councilling" that soldiers get now is almost geared to telling them that they are sick if they don't have a problem and of course, there is always the issue of those who exagerate problems in an effort to get a pension.

I believe (and I'm sure someone here will disagree) that the psychiatric medicine arm is engaged in a massive "make work" project here, and that suicide rates within the CF bear little difference from the civilian populace - which is a normal thing, because we are supposed to represent the Canadian population - right?

Is there anything you AREN'T an expert in??   :boring:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on July 27, 2006, 01:18:39
Is there anything you AREN'T an expert in??   :boring:

I'm not an expert, hence the use of terms like In My Humble Opinion and "I believe" which denote my opinions and thoughts on the matter, respectively. If you require further clarification, feel free to ask.

Also, I have great difficulty with concepts such as;

-trigonometry;
-creationism;
-being a crusty army NCO with stalker tendencies who likes to bully troops on naval bases, probably due to a lack of work.

Do you know anyone who could help me learn these things?  :-*
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Berenguei on July 27, 2006, 08:31:26
The link that I provided is a short version of the article. In the paper itself, there were two pages on this topic.

Part of it were quotes by some of these soldiers that commited suicide. I remember especially the one about humans crucified to the wall or a baby being forced out of the belly of a pregnant mother by rebels and killing it right in front of the mother.

I guess you have to live these things to understand how these images stay with you, and perhaps it is plausible that some soldiers cannot go on living with these images haunting them forever, making suicide the only option.

War can have this side effect, I guess. It's a fact, PTSD just as well. For all of us who never had to see attrocities as described above, may be we should respect our fellow soldiers who did and not disregard what these men are going through.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on July 27, 2006, 09:54:22
Berenguei,

I'm not belittling the experiences of traumatised CF members, but the fact remains, a portion of the population, and a portion of the CF will try to kill themselves, even in peacetime - this is a statistical certainty.

I
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: BulletMagnet on July 27, 2006, 10:03:09
I tend to agree with GO, I think you will find when comparing are statistics to any other "micro" society within Canada you'll find that our averages are on par if not below that of the others. I like to believe that we as a whole thanks to many aspects and screening within our training system makes us more capable of dealing mentally with some of the things we see. I am not saying were invulnerable or that we don't from time to time have our issues ( hell I still have nightmares from time to time) but I think our capacity for mental stress and trauma is higher.

Again this is all IMHO
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Berenguei on July 27, 2006, 19:11:14
Berenguei,

I'm not belittling the experiences of traumatised CF members, but the fact remains, a portion of the population, and a portion of the CF will try to kill themselves, even in peacetime - this is a statistical certainty.

I


I'm sorry if you felt my reply was directed to you GO...that was certainly not my intention. It's just that some people in the military has the super-hero/untouchable type of personalities that cannot accept that some soldiers had it rough...and that's a flat-out wrong attitude to have. Soldiers are touchable, but that doesn't diminish in any shape or form the fact that we are the best soldiers in the world.

You're right...16 cases out of 45 000 thousands, that's 0.0003 ! trust me...you won't find these numbers in the original article.

Later bros',

Berenguei
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: pbi on July 27, 2006, 19:49:22
Quote
Most of the cases would not be reported or are not investigated by the military police.


This line should be an immediate indication of the bias of the article. Just think about this statement for a second. A soldier kills himself and:

a) if he is a RegF soldier, the MPs neither investigate nor receive a report from the civil police? (if the soldier lived off base...);

b) if he is a Res soldier who has completed his active duty and kills himself, the unit obtains no information from the civil police?;

c) no Significant Incident Report is done?;

d) neither the family nor the local media say anything?

While I am sure that such rare exceptional cases may have occurred, IMHO they are just that: rare and exceptional,  and would not serve to raise the statistics very much.

As other posters have pointed out, without a proper statistical comparison to figures from comparable groups in society, the statistics don't really say much except that apparently some of us, after being exposed to the kinds of things that we are exposed to as soldiers, tragically can not deal with it, and end up taking our own lives. Is that a surprise, or is it just a very sad reality?

What is the real intent here: to suggest that we are all a bunch of ticking time bombs?

Cheers
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: reccecrewman on July 27, 2006, 19:50:51
In 1998, there were 3,699 suicides reported in Canada as cause of death.  That makes the ratio 12.2/100,000.  By the Journal de Montreal's figure of 1 suicide per 4,000 members of CF, we more than double the National suicide rate. (My figures are from the Public Health Agency of Canada)

In any rate - I'd say that the personnel serving in the CF are under a great deal more stress than the majority of average Canadians.  In any event, I'd hardly call 1 in 4,000 an epidemic and I'm sure that there are many other groups in Canada who also carry a high suicide rate.

Regards

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: m410 on July 27, 2006, 20:21:32
In 1998, there were 3,699 suicides reported in Canada as cause of death.  That makes the ratio 12.2/100,000.  By the Journal de Montreal's figure of 1 suicide per 4,000 members of CF, we more than double the National suicide rate. (My figures are from the Public Health Agency of Canada)

In any rate - I'd say that the personnel serving in the CF are under a great deal more stress than the majority of average Canadians.  In any event, I'd hardly call 1 in 4,000 an epidemic and I'm sure that there are many other groups in Canada who also carry a high suicide rate.

Regards
There are some causation issues.  Are military personnel more prone to suicide, or are those prone to suicide more likely to be in the military?  The military is devoid of those under 16 and over 55, and is perhaps 85% male.  I'd wager that the suicide rate for men between 16 and 54 is over 12.2/100,000.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: reccecrewman on July 27, 2006, 20:30:55
Well, by the Public Health Agency of Canada;

Mortality rate for suicide in Canadian men is 4x that of Canadian women;

Individuals between 15-44 years of age account for a whopping 73% of hospital admissions for attempted suicide;

2,158 of 1998's 3,699 suicides were 15-44 years of age.

So, m410, I would say you raise a VERY valid point in your post when pointing out that the CF is predominately males who fall into that age bracket.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: m410 on July 27, 2006, 23:28:24
Swish!   I knew 6 years of university would come in handy some day.  :D
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Danjanou on July 27, 2006, 23:40:18
Swish!   I knew 6 years of university would come in handy some day.  :D

Only two more to go and that BA is yours eh ;D

Seriously the point you make is the crucial factor here in showing why the suicde rate in the CF is slightly and be honest it's only slightly higher than the national average. I would wager that a similar study of Firemen, LEOs and EMS types would probably also show higher than the norms, and for the same reasdons their demographics are similar in terms of ages and gender, as well as the obvious high stress nature of the job.

However don't count on any main stream media actually noting that little statistical blip in their articles. It might serve to lower the sensationalism of the piece and can't have that now can we. ::)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: reccecrewman on July 28, 2006, 14:36:21
Also, how many suicides in the CF can be directly attributed to spouses?  For example............ Husband (or wife - could go either way) deploys on 3rd tour in 4 years, wife decides she can't handle being left alone so much.  There's the actual deployment and all the exercises in between, TMST training and so forth and she realizes that for the past xxx number of years, she's basically been alone anyways - so she packs it in and takes the kids with him.  This is just an example, but marital woes I would guess are a big part of suicide in the CF.  The inevitable money issues that follow the divorce, custody of the kids PLUS doing the job of a soldier could get a little overwhelming.  This is strictly my guess, but if someone were to ask me, I would probably venture to say that the divorce rate in the CF is also higher than the national average. Food for thought.

Regards
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 17thRecceSgt on July 28, 2006, 16:00:26
-being a crusty army NCO with stalker tendencies who likes to bully troops on naval bases, probably due to a lack of work.

Do you know anyone who could help me learn these things?  :-*


Enforcing rules/regulations isn't bullying.  Its the job of an NCO.  Hopefully you realize that before they zap a leaf on your current rank.

I guess you let your Privates just "do what they want"?

But back on track...

If you "disagree" with the statistics, how about actually DIS-PROVING them with some other stats, facts or something relevant? 

Like I said... :boring:

Man, I wish I knew it all when I was a Cpl, like you do!
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: rogsco on July 28, 2006, 18:07:42
I think it has been established here and in other places that the press reports on the sensational, not the mundane. The press is the last source one should use for statistical or research evidence. They don't do a great job of reporting the whole story when it comes to research. Here is something in context from the CF Health & Lifestyle Information Survey (2004) .

The HLIS as a measurement tool has been validated by similar results from a StatsCan CF Mental Health Survey. As for the huge increase in PTSD rates, the HLIS indicates that military members are more than twice as likely than the civilian population to make use of mental health care professionals, which could at least partially explain the numbers (more use = more reporting).

The HLIS 2004 found that approximately 8% of CF members have ever seriously considered taking their own life and 3% have considered it in the past 12 months. The lifetime rate is roughly half that found in the CF Supplement to the Canadian Community Health Survey 2002 while the one year rate is comparable. The CF Supplement, also known as the DND Mental Health Survey, is probably a more valid measurement in this area because its response rate was higher. The CF Supplement results were not significantly different from the general Canadian population results. It should be noted that the questions on the HLIS and Mental Health Survey are similar but not identical, and the area of the survey in which they are asked is different. It is thus reasonable to conclude that the HLIS results can be compared to future HLIS results, but cannot validly be compared to the general Canadian population health surveys.

Lifetime suicidal ideation is higher among Francophones as is the case with the general Canadian population. Lifetime suicidal ideation is highest among the sea element at 11% and lowest for the land element at 7%. Suicidal ideation is higher among females, decreases as education increases, and is least likely among those married or living common-law. Lifetime suicidal ideation is lower among those 40 years of age and older. Less than 1% of CF members report having ever attempted suicide.

All that being said, if you need help dealing, tell someone.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Berenguei on July 28, 2006, 20:47:51
Hey bros,

If I'm not mistaken, that article in the Journal de Montréal was based on the findings of the CF ombudsman.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: KevinB on July 29, 2006, 00:31:22
If you "disagree" with the statistics, how about actually DIS-PROVING them with some other stats, facts or something relevant? 

Like I said... :boring:

Man, I wish I knew it all when I was a Cpl, like you do!

Slagging on GO!!! for bringing some perspective to the issue that you dont like, does not dimish he has some valid points.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on July 29, 2006, 01:25:55
Slagging on GO!!! for bringing some perspective to the issue that you dont like, does not dimish he has some valid points.



What are they? That we should revert back to the old ways of hiding people who are suffering?  We finally make a step to aid those who need it and we now criticize it as being some sort of hidden agenda by an ever growing psychiatric medicine arm within the CF..

I would like to be presented with the valid points, with justification, to his argument and your defence of it.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: KevinB on July 29, 2006, 01:51:14
Tess -- a number of people that the CF designated as suicidal - have completed live fire ranges or been jumping.
 Since they had a number of chances to guarantee their death -- I would say that while they may be depressed that they where not suicidal...

 Similarily the CF seems to class people that have an alcohol related incident (not surprising for young troops) as alcohol dependant -- significantly this was when the base drug alcohol counsellors where running the ARC programs.

I dont have any stats - but as others have pointed out you can skew stats anyway you wish - since those are my personal observations from wearing the uniform for over 15 years both reg and reserve.

Lastly - Cpl's are in a unique position to offer insights -- since they directly deal with the Pte's yet are not co-opted by the system into worrying about careers etc.  ;)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on July 29, 2006, 02:06:29
Brother,

C'mon now.  The people that the CF designated as suicidal have completed live fire ranges or been jumping.  These people are not incompetent to the point of not being able to to their job, suicidal tendencies do not make you want to give up what you do in life, they make you want to live.  The actions you present may be the parts of life they actually enjoy, and you will not see the suicidal side in them when the do those actions.  In fact t you see the opposite.

The CF seems to class people that have an alcohol related incident (not surprising for young troops) as alcohol dependant.  Fair enough, but take a guy who has been in a while, has gone overseas, and experienced a tough go, I would like to have an eye on him if he is abusing it.  It may be a matter of venting and decompression, however, it could be the other way.  Again, as GO and I have stated previously, it is better to recognize the problem, and then find a solution to get the troop back on track to the way he was so he can soldier again.

Quote
Lastly - Cpl's are in a unique position to offer insights -- since they directly deal with the Pte's yet are not co-opted by the system into worrying about careers etc. 

The best position (in fact the best rank within the military...but I digress)!  However, we are talking the military as a whole.  Who will take care of the Sergeant, the Platoon WO., or the Company commander who has to resolve the fact that they have experienced loss off people closer to him than his own mother??

I take this personally, as you know, because I am one who fell through the wide "Cracks" of our beloved system.  Now we finally get it on track and we criticize it?  Dunno.


dileas

tess



Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: KevinB on July 29, 2006, 02:13:53
tess -- I hear you.

 When I left the CF they wanted me to seek counselling for PTSD ( I had solved my PTSD issues a long time ago) but the issue was anger with a few superiors - not related to PTSD at all.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on July 29, 2006, 02:21:41
Quote
but the issue was anger with a few superiors - not related to PTSD at all

Dude,

You obviously used professional help to solve your disorder, correct? However, you would agree one of the symptoms of PTSD is anger, and when you have demonstrated that you have had PTSD previously, and then have anger to multiple superiors, what assessment would you make?

I am not trying to pick on you, or GO for that matter, but we have to clarify the statement, as opposed to firing off eye candy shots at the establishment.

dileas

tess
 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: KevinB on July 29, 2006, 02:28:52
I legitimately dislike and have anger at a few people in the CF.

IF the CF put more effort into preparing the warfighter - they would have less issues with PSTD.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on July 29, 2006, 02:35:11
Agreed, to an extent.

If the CF followed up properly, after an incident, they would have absolutely no issues with PTSD.

The big poison that affects troops is how they are treated after any type of situation.  If not addressed properly, and immediately, then the wound can fester and developed into PTSD.  If treated, like any other type of physical wound, the troop can jump back into the swing of things.

PTSD is no different than an infection.  You can take all the shots you want to prevent it, but proper hygiene and follow up is what will prevent it.

Same thing for the mind.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 17thRecceSgt on July 29, 2006, 08:07:38
Slagging on GO!!! for bringing some perspective to the issue that you dont like, does not dimish he has some valid points.



Sure, if you accept it with no factual data, or anything to counter the data presented.  GO!!! does enough slaggin on his own, surely he can handle some of his own medicine for a change.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 17thRecceSgt on July 29, 2006, 08:10:02
Tess -- a number of people that the CF designated as suicidal - have completed live fire ranges or been jumping.
 Since they had a number of chances to guarantee their death -- I would say that while they may be depressed that they where not suicidal...

 Similarily the CF seems to class people that have an alcohol related incident (not surprising for young troops) as alcohol dependant -- significantly this was when the base drug alcohol counsellors where running the ARC programs.

I dont have any stats - but as others have pointed out you can skew stats anyway you wish - since those are my personal observations from wearing the uniform for over 15 years both reg and reserve.

Lastly - Cpl's are in a unique position to offer insights -- since they directly deal with the Pte's yet are not co-opted by the system into worrying about careers etc.  ;)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 17thRecceSgt on July 29, 2006, 08:17:53
Tess -- a number of people that the CF designated as suicidal - have completed live fire ranges or been jumping.
 Since they had a number of chances to guarantee their death -- I would say that while they may be depressed that they where not suicidal...
 

Anything to back that statement up?  I have done both, don't recall anyone talking to be about being suicidal.

While I do agree that Cpl's have the closet working relationship with Pte's for the most part, I disagree with the comment that makes it look like MCpl's and above are clueless because they are to focused on their careers.  Sure, SOME are, but only some.  I guess in those situations, the team isn't working as per, and thats too bad.  I see lots of it where I work, and that makes me all the more determined to not let that happen to me, and my couple of guys that I have under me.  

Regardless, overall the point of this thread points to stats' from research, surveys, whatever they got the info from and what I am saying to the na-sayers is DIS-PROVE it with other factual data.

I don't think slamming the CF Medical Services for "this being a make-work" project is the way to dis-prove it either, to me that discredits your opinion, unless you work with or have worked with these people and have personally witnessed it.  I would also say the same thing to anyone who posted that the Combat Arms were 31 flavours of f#$ked up, if they were Medical type people and had never worked with, or didn't understand the requirements of, the tactics, mindset, etc of Combat Arms types.

So for me, 2 points.  1.  Disprove it if it is wrong or incorrect.  2.  Quit the VD on the subject for lack of the ability to do Point #1.   ;)



Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on July 29, 2006, 16:20:48
Anything to back that statement up?  I have done both, don't recall anyone talking to be about being suicidal.
I have. One individual informed several members of the platoon of his desire (including me) - it still took a month or two for him to recieve effective treatment. And yes, before you start, we passed it up and he did recieve some care.

Quote
While I do agree that Cpl's have the closet working relationship with Pte's for the most part, I disagree with the comment that makes it look like MCpl's and above are clueless because they are to focused on their careers.  Sure, SOME are, but only some.  I guess in those situations, the team isn't working as per, and thats too bad.  I see lots of it where I work, and that makes me all the more determined to not let that happen to me, and my couple of guys that I have under me.  
I'd take it a step further. MCpl is an extraordinarily hard rank to be; not quite an NCO and not quite a troop either. MCpl's are often second guessed and this hampers their ability to force change. As a result, I see them either overreacting "confiscate that man's weapon, post a guard" or underreacting "Oh, I'm sure he'll be fine".

Quote
I don't think slamming the CF Medical Services for "this being a make-work" project is the way to dis-prove it either, to me that discredits your opinion, unless you work with or have worked with these people and have personally witnessed it.  I would also say the same thing to anyone who posted that the Combat Arms were 31 flavours of f#$ked up, if they were Medical type people and had never worked with, or didn't understand the requirements of, the tactics, mindset, etc of Combat Arms types.
I've worked within the system and witnessed a few close friends do it as well.

1) Excellent Sr. Cpl with several deployments and a sleeping disorder seeks help. CF Psycho Services diagnoses him, and promptly prescribes him a drug. A month later, a notice of Permanent Category shows up at unit, stating that Cpl X can never be deployed again as he requires prescription meds. The individual in question was never told about the consequences of this prescription or the reasoning behind it, or any alternative treatment.
End result? Mbr Releases, as there is no hope of deploying again, and promotional opportunities are limited, and must seek treatment from civilian MH pros on his own dime. They clear the problem up in a year.

2) Junior Pte. Develops (or joined with) alcohol problem and severe depression. Has a number of disciplinary problems and is eventually sent to counselling. Mbr gets steadily worse while attending numerous appointments and taking prescription drugs with severe side effects until he elects not to renew his BE.
End result? Mbr releases, untreated.

3) Cpl is badly injured in work related accident, and after 2 months convalescence, suffers severe depression and maritial problems for which he seeks assistance. CF MH gives him no fewer than 4 prescriptions simultaneously for "mood improvement". Mbr has "adverse" reactions to drugs, discontinues them and seeks help from civilian MH on own dime. Treatment effective, mbr returns to work. CF MH accuses mbr of exagerrating origional symptoms, threatens disciplinary actions.
End result? Mbr wishes he'd paid for the civy help in the first place.

In all of the above cases, the CF Psycho services (their name, not mine) reacted to symptoms with maximal application of powerful prescription drugs and minimal use of counselling. None of the above will ever use military MH again, and countless more are scared off of it because of these  cases.


Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: rogsco on July 29, 2006, 17:30:28
GO,

Troublesome cases indeed. Let me state my bias up front: I am a health care provider (not mental health) with many years of experience with both the CF and civilian health care systems. Mental health is a challenging clinical area. Your four cases of second-hand, one-sided accounts are anecdotal and don't shed much evidence of a "psycho system" that is failing. By, the way, I think you will find the term is CF Mental Health Services not CF Psycho Services.

It is not unusual for a patient to be served by more than one MH care provider in either the civilian or military setting (or combination). Mental Health care is often multi-disciplinary  as is the case in the CF with psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, and chaplains (when appropriate) being involved. Relapses are not uncommon and sometimes more than one approach to treatment is necessary for success. Patients may also find that they have a better therapeutic relationship with one provider over another.

The problem I have with your accounts is that they seem to villainize the CF system and suggest the civilian system is without flaw. I can find you lot's of examples of problems with the civilian system as well.  I also take issue with your account of the CF MH system recommending or attempting to discipline a patient. All I can say to that, without seeing a case file and hearing the first hand account of the member, is that it is highly suspect at best and BS at worst. It is not the role of a CF health care provider to discipline a patient. I would suggest that to do so would violate professional codes of ethics.

PCATs are rarely issued without going through the TCAT process first to see if a condition will be self-limiting or amenable to treatment. If a PCAT arrived within a month, I have to say the system was working remarkably well, I have never seen one processed that quickly - they tend to take months to years. Seems suspect.

Alcohol addiction is one of the most difficult things to treat. Couple it with depression and treatment can be even more complex. Relapses and treatment failures are common in treating alcohol addiction in the CF and in the civilian world. I don't see how this Pte's choice to leave the CF is a failure of the CF MH system. I wonder if he was treated successfully after leaving?

Treatment regimes will generally include a mix of pharmacological and non-pharmacological measures. All anti-depressants have side effects (the most troublesome to patients often being sexual side effects) Patients need to discuss treatment options with their care providers. Mental health care is a directive "I am the professional, you are the patient, do as I say" field of endeavour. Nobody can be forced to participate in treatment they don't want (ok, unless they have been declared a danger to themselves or others and ordered into treatment under a mental health law).

Its really a shame these members feel that CF MH services failed them, but four second-hand cases lacking in detail should not be used to serve as an indictment of a system that is helping many people.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on July 29, 2006, 20:38:41
rogsco,

I fully support your assertation that there may be some inconsistencies in these accounts. All are anecdotal, and have been treated to the "Private Pipeline" which tends to sensationalise in a manner the media can only dream about.

The "discipline" I've heard about from the medical side is limited to being ordered to take your meds - I've never heard of anyone charged for it though.

The individual who was precluded from deployment came up so quickly at the PCAT because he was DAG-ing. He was given an unpleasant surprise when he DAG- ged red - due to his meds with no prior warning.

I have advocated certain parts of the CF mental health system before - the MAP (Member Assistance Program) is a confidential method of seeking mental health that seems to get high marks from soldiers I know that have used it, lest I be seen as too negative!

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: rogsco on July 30, 2006, 12:31:03
Thanks for the follow up GO. Its good to know that you are involved in the MAP. That is an important part of CF MH, since as you know as a participant in MAP, that there is still stigma attached to mental health concerns in the military and in the civilian world. Its is critical that soldiers feel there is someone they can trust to just listen or to help them connect with help.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: cplwife on August 02, 2006, 19:48:11
I just wanted to clarify something with you all...  My wonderful husband is slated to be home from an Afghanistan tour in a few short weeks, the CF rear party has organized a meeting with CF MH for the wives before their return.  We, the wives, have been told to contact them if we see concerning behavior before it gets out of hand.  Would you agree with this idea or am I to believe that this isn't a good idea?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GO!!! on August 03, 2006, 00:36:58
I just wanted to clarify something with you all...  My wonderful husband is slated to be home from an Afghanistan tour in a few short weeks, the CF rear party has organized a meeting with CF MH for the wives before their return.  We, the wives, have been told to contact them if we see concerning behavior before it gets out of hand.  Would you agree with this idea or am I to believe that this isn't a good idea?

Contacting CF MH can, but not necessarily will, have career repercussions for a soldier. Nobody wants to be saddled with a the "crazy train" moniker. Nothing gets around faster than rumours that Cpl Bloggins was sitting in the Garrison Psycho Services waiting room for some reason.

There is confidential mental health help available to CF members through the Member Assistance Program. This is funded by the CF, but patients are treated by civilian MH professionals in off - base facilities. Further info;
http://www.dnd.ca/health/services/engraph/member_assist_program_home_e.asp (http://www.dnd.ca/health/services/engraph/member_assist_program_home_e.asp)

Finally, don't keep the army on speed dial. Many of the "problems" that soldiers experience post - deployment can be ironed out with a supportive significant other, a pleasant home life and time.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: hyrt on September 29, 2006, 10:13:38
It makes you wonder where they get all these statistics and how accurate they may be.
I highly doubt these numbers are correct.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: EX_RCAC_011 on September 29, 2006, 17:09:44
I just wanted to clarify something with you all...  My wonderful husband is slated to be home from an Afghanistan tour in a few short weeks, the CF rear party has organized a meeting with CF MH for the wives before their return.  We, the wives, have been told to contact them if we see concerning behavior before it gets out of hand.  Would you agree with this idea or am I to believe that this isn't a good idea?

Its a plan paved with good intentions I believe.But I can see this causing a lot of problems between spouses.Personally if my wife called the army to tell them I was withdrawn,or got angry at her I would proably lose it.I see spouses overreacting.I know my wife was annoying as **** when I came home cause I wasn't use to having to deal with her after 6 months.This followed fits of "anger" "Jesus give me some room" when shes smothering me while I'm trying to drive,or being "withdrawn" and heading to the basement to play darts when she gets annoying.

But it may point out some good things to look for and hopefully save life's.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: FuzzyLogic on April 20, 2008, 11:18:56
Interesting compare and contrast:

CBC says that the suicide rate in the CF is three times the national average ... TheStar says the rate is lower than the national average.  Somebody is spinning:

http://cjunk.blogspot.com/2008/04/soldier-suicides-compare-and-contrast.html (http://cjunk.blogspot.com/2008/04/soldier-suicides-compare-and-contrast.html)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: George Wallace on April 20, 2008, 11:23:33
Once again, proof that STATISTICS can be used to prove anyone's agenda is correct.  One set of numbers, manipulated to prove two contradictory findings.  Interesting isn't it?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: BernDawg on April 20, 2008, 11:31:49
I read the CBC art this morning and was shocked but was also in a kind of disbelief.  Although I am painfully well aware of suicide in the CF I also believed that we were a tougher breed of person in general and were not as prone to the drastic action of suicide.  As it turns out I was correct and now recall a similar article I read a year or two ago that stated the same thing about our rate actually being lower than the national average.  I do feel that yet again someone (read CBC) has spun this story to their benefit.  It seems to me that the CBC has a dual agenda, sometimes they hate us and sometimes they love us but they can't make up their minds.  It will be interesting to follow this story for the next few days to see who takes what approach and how they present the "facts".
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: ark on April 20, 2008, 11:40:26
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/04/18/suicide-rates.html

According to this CBC article, we had 96,318 reg force members in 2006. Isn't this number way too high?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 2 Cdo on April 20, 2008, 11:43:33
I read the CBC art this morning and was shocked but was also in a kind of disbelief.  Although I am painfully well aware of suicide in the CF I also believed that we were a tougher breed of person in general and were not as prone to the drastic action of suicide.  As it turns out I was correct and now recall a similar article I read a year or two ago that stated the same thing about our rate actually being lower than the national average.  I do feel that yet again someone (read CBC) has spun this story to their benefit.  It seems to me that the CBC has a dual agenda, sometimes they hate us and sometimes they love us but they can't make up their minds.  It will be interesting to follow this story for the next few days to see who takes what approach and how they present the "facts".

 Berndawg when are you going to learn that the only thing believable from the CBC is Hockey Night in Canada! The rest is just left-wing pablum. :rage:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: karl28 on April 20, 2008, 12:00:10
2 Cdo 
 
I completely agree with you on your views with CBC .  They're a joke as a news group  I don't even consider them when I want to look for a news story truly sad most of the media have lost theire way  what ever happened to being neutral  when composing a story .  I guess those days are gone .



[Edit:  Sorry.  Being 'old school' I had problems wondering where there was.]
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Enfield on April 20, 2008, 12:32:01
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/04/18/suicide-rates.html

According to this CBC article, we had 96,318 reg force members in 2006. Isn't this number way too high?

The numbers from the CBC story:

2003    86,937  Regular Force members
2004    90,772 
2005    91,285   
2006    96,318
2007    87,000 

According to the DND website (http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/about/index_e.asp) the military currently has 62,000 Regular members and 25,000 Reservists, including Rangers. The CBC table has apparently added Regular and Reserve numbers, and then called them all Regular Force members.

However, according to Statistics Canada (http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/govt16a.htm) the military had the following numbers of military personnel, on average, in the same years:
2003      83,766
2004      84,059
2005      85,706
2006      87,728
2007      89,332

Looks like the numbers - and thus the conclusions - from the CBC story are out to lunch.

I'd also point out that until someone compares the suicides to the deploymets and units of the individuals, and takes into consideration statistics from Veterans Affairs on retired/released members, any conclusions are inaccurate and premature. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: FuzzyLogic on April 20, 2008, 13:02:47
Age and gender are critical to this matter.  The single most suicide prone group in Canada is young adult males.  That's why any comparison of CF suicides to Canadian suicides must compare gender and age in each group.  Since most CF are still male ... and relatively young ... then the target population in the CF for comparison in Canada must match.  TheStar article makes it clear that when compared this way ... which is the accurate way ... that CF suicides are in fact lower than the general population.  For example; males, aged 18 to 30 in the CF are less likely to commit suicide than the same group nationwide.

Of course, this would be too complicated for the CBC to point out.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Shamrock on April 20, 2008, 13:05:16
If male CF suicides during 2006 were 20 and below the male national average and doubled to 36 making them three times the male national average, then the male national average for 2007 would have to be around 13, meaning the male national average halved. 

I'd hate to accusse the MSM of selectively comparing nonequivalent descriptive statistics by say comparing the CF to one standard before the rate change and to a second standard after the rate change to arrive at a flawed conclusion.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: TN2IC on April 20, 2008, 13:11:02
Berndawg when are you going to learn that the only thing believable from the CBC is Hockey Night in Canada! The rest is just left-wing pablum. :rage:


Amen...  ;)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Proud_Newfoundlander on April 20, 2008, 13:20:31
Arent CF members more likely to seek help help for mental illness ?


CBC Newsworld isnt to bad, but National Canadian media does have a soft leftist bias. Allthough comedy shouldnt be taken on the level of, say news, I find CBC comedy to be terribly bias. Whats bothersome is this is government tax funded money programs Have no idea bout their dramas, as they dont seem to last past a week.. lol
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: BernDawg on April 20, 2008, 18:46:09
Oh I'm well aware that they're the Communist Broadcasting Corporation.  I never said that I trusted them.  ;)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Yrys on April 20, 2008, 18:53:34
The article the blog and CBC are speaking of is also mention in thread here :


Invisible Wounds of War (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,73097.msg703044.html#msg703044)

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 20, 2008, 19:06:45
Suicide is a real problem with seriously injured soldiers.They are depressed that life as they know it is forever changed. Its a decision that affects their families. Seriously injured soldiers need a strong support network to overcome depression and heal.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Yrys on April 20, 2008, 19:22:51
I would add to tomahawk6  post  medications for depressions (don't know if medications work for PTSD).
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on April 20, 2008, 21:32:00
I would add to tomahawk6  post  medications for depressions (don't know if medications work for PTSD).

Medication does work,

But, like any other method of healing it all depends on the individual, and the treatment that they receive.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: tomahawk6 on April 20, 2008, 23:14:51
A badly wounded man needs a strong will to live and if that is lacking then its very hard to keep him from killing himself. Family and friends are far better than just medication alone. This is why men when they have a shot at staying in the service have a goal and hope to cling to. There was an account last year of a Captain who was paralyzed from the neck down who after discussing his situation with his family,said his good byes and had the doctors stop life support. These are hard choices that are highly personal and those who make the decision to die should not be looked down on by anyone. These fine young men/women served their country and gave their all thats what counts to me.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on April 20, 2008, 23:31:39
Perhaps we should back off on some of the CBC bashing.  The table in the CBC story is clearly labeled as "Regular Force and Reserves"; I'm concerned about the drop from 2006 to 2007 of 9000+ personnel.  I suspect they've dropped the CIC and Canadian Rangers from the total in 2007; dropping 9000 pers will increase the rate, especially when the raw number of personnel increases.

Claiming "The military has many young men who are more prone to suicide" is a red herring.  First, the military is not a cross section of society writ large; there is selection prior to enrollment that should weed out psyches more likely to suicide; this could be an indicator that those selection processes are not working as they should, or an indicator that additional stresses are being placed on our sailors, soldiers and airmen.

Overall, this is a significant issue: going from 20 to 36 suicides in a year might be a statistical blip, but may also be an indicator of stresses in the system that have to be addressed.  Far better to take action that is later proved unnecessary than to do nothing in a situation like this.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Rider Pride on April 20, 2008, 23:47:28
Medication does work,

But, like any other method of healing it all depends on the individual, and the treatment that they receive.

So true, so true. Medications treat the symptoms, healing is up to the individual.

The stats on suicide, the CF and Canadian young men need to be read correctly. The CF average of suicide given age /gender considerations are not greater than the same rate for the age/gender group for the remainder of Canadian populations.

There is also stats of Canadian soldiers reporting higher than average rates of mental illness....how many other groups of Cdn males between 20-35 routinely have psych and mental health screenings?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Eye In The Sky on April 21, 2008, 00:28:18
As a Baseline/benchmark, I would like to have seen CBC also report on the % of suicides in the same age brackets of our nations police officers, firefighters, EMTs/paramedics and the rest of society that are in jobs that can lead to PTSD and other mental injuries.  I can't comment on the accuracy or validity of the CBC numbers that are in this thread.  However, if there was a rise in the number, for my little brain, the fact that we have an army that is at war, and Navy that is sailing in the Gulf and an AF that is manning the camp that doesn't exist, etc etc...how could it not be the case?  More marriages/personal relationships are strained or ending, families apart more and more...I guess to me, I would wonder what the surprise would be.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 40below on April 21, 2008, 23:46:16
So true, so true. Medications treat the symptoms, healing is up to the individual.

The stats on suicide, the CF and Canadian young men need to be read correctly. The CF average of suicide given age /gender considerations are not greater than the same rate for the age/gender group for the remainder of Canadian populations.

There is also stats of Canadian soldiers reporting higher than average rates of mental illness....how many other groups of Cdn males between 20-35 routinely have psych and mental health screenings?

The other factor here, IMO and which has everything to do with how the data is compiled, has directly to do with lumping in Inuit and Inuvialuit Rangers into the general pop being measured. I don't claim to be a statistician or a sociologist, but I lived in the high Arctic for several years, went on a few sovereignty patrols and knew a few Rangers who killed themselves in the time I was up there, a lot more since. The suicide rate among northern Aboriginals, although it does vary by region and by community, is roughly seven times the national average even as measured by StatsCan and Health Canada, and that tends to hold true from the Yupik of Alaska to the Inuit of Nunavut and Nunatsiavut, and even into Greenland  – plus young men there have easy access to firearms which means the attempt-to-success ratio among young men, bluntly put, tends to be higher than in the south because of the methods employed. All of the young men I knew who killed themselves shot themselves, and adding to the rate is that they don't exactly have trauma hospitals in places like Tsiigehtchic or Pond Inlet - they have a nursing station and the nearest air ambulance can be several days away.

Rangers may or may not be more predisposed to suicide than other Inuit, but let's extrapolate the trend and say they are seven times more likely to commit suicide – those 4,000 Rangers actually figure as a population of 28,000 if the ratio holds - in other words, they make up a third of the Forces being measured but have a suicide rate seven times as high. I can see that skewing the numbers.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Blackadder1916 on April 29, 2008, 14:58:56
The other factor here, IMO and which has everything to do with how the data is compiled, has directly to do with lumping in Inuit and Inuvialuit Rangers into the general pop being measured. . . .

The statistics maintained on CF members deal mainly with those on full-time service.  While the system may know that a reservist is 'discharged dead', the circumstances of that death will probably not be recorded unless the reservist (in any component of the reserve) died while on 'B' or 'C' class service (either on or off duty).  If the death occurred while on 'A' class service, the circumstances would have been recorded only if the death had occurred while actually on duty.  From my recollection, the majority of Canadian Rangers serve mainly on 'A' class service or short bouts of 'B' class during training or when supporting an operation in the north.  So unless all (or a majority of) Inuit Ranger suicides had actually occurred on duty,  including them in any statistical analysis will not skew the result as you suggest.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: 2 Cdo on April 29, 2008, 15:28:44
Perhaps we should back off on some of the CBC bashing. 

When the CBC stops trying to GENERATE news and sticks to REPORTING the news I will cease bashing them. Until such time I will have nothing but disdain for their unprofessionalism and "leftie" bias.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Greymatters on April 29, 2008, 16:07:13
Claiming "The military has many young men who are more prone to suicide" is a red herring.  First, the military is not a cross section of society writ large; there is selection prior to enrollment that should weed out psyches more likely to suicide; this could be an indicator that those selection processes are not working as they should, or an indicator that additional stresses are being placed on our sailors, soldiers and airmen.

I would agree that the comment is a red herring, but would disagree with your follow-on statements.   

The military is a cross-section of society, but certainly not of societal culture, as IMO we are (in general) more conservative in our thinking than the general population.  And despite all the recruiting efforts, we dont have a force that represents every culture across Canada to the point some people would like to believe we should.     

The selection process can weed out persons likely to commit suicide at the time of selection, but many other factors are introduced once service begins and continues, so new factors can contribute during the course of a career.  Many pressures that contribute to a 'suicidal psyche' as you call it can be encountered later in life/career that cannot possibly be detected during initial selection, but only by continued monitoring during the course of a career.

On the last part, IMO it is pretty much a given that all CF members face stressors far beyond what most people encounter, but whether our system is adequate for detecting and preventing the creation of a potential suicide remains debatable.  You'd have to get a current SME to verify or comment on that...
 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on April 29, 2008, 16:38:49
Greymatters:

I think we agree in our disagreement.  The CF is different (I'm tepmted to call it "a distinct society") and faces different stressors - and we need to focus on what those stressors are, and who we select, and how we train those we select to deal with those stressors.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Greymatters on April 29, 2008, 17:25:44
 :cheers:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on January 28, 2010, 22:48:57
This (http://www.canada.com/news/Military+needs+monitor+post+combat+suicides+panel+told/2496371/story.html) from the National Post:
Quote
Canadians should be wary of a grim trend in the United States where all military suicides outnumber combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, a top mental health expert said Thursday.

Zul Merali told a forum on Parliament Hill that military suicides in Canada should be tracked and made public so that Canadians know the scope of a hidden problem, in part, because of stigma associated with mental illness.

"As a society we need to come to terms with this issue square on," said Merali, president and CEO of the Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research (http://www.imhr.ca/research/researchers-zul-merali-e.cfm).

Merali was among speakers at a forum arranged by Liberal MPs to air problems facing some injured veterans of Afghanistan and other modern conflicts ....
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Jingo on January 28, 2010, 23:29:10
For some reason I thought the CF already publishes post-combat suicides... I'll have to search for this when I get into work tomorrow.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: old medic on May 31, 2011, 14:06:25
Military's overall suicide rate no different than general population's: study
OTTAWA— The Canadian Press
31 May 2011
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/militarys-overall-suicide-rate-no-different-than-general-populations-study/article2041173/

Quote
A new study says the military's overall suicide rate is no higher than that of the general population, though some soldiers and ex-soldiers are more than twice as likely to take their own lives.

The Statistics Canada study of 188,161 military personnel who enrolled between 1972 and 2006 says that women between the ages of 40 and 44 were more than twice as likely to die from suicide as their same—age counterparts in the general population.

The study says that among those released from the military during the study period, males aged 16 to 24 were more than twice as likely to kill themselves as those in the general male population.

But it found that among all those who joined the military during the study period, the risk of suicide was not significantly different from that of the general population.

The report comes just days after what appears to have been the fourth suicide by a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.

The study period, however, predates the bulk of Canada's major combat operations in the country's Kandahar region and it does not include deaths that occurred outside Canada.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on May 31, 2011, 14:18:37
The study is limited in that it examined only Regular Force members.

It's available online at:

http://www.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/olc-cel?catno=82-584-X&lang=eng
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Pieman on May 31, 2011, 14:23:01
During a three year period I count two suicides that happened in the shacks I was living in, one suicide on exercise, and one suicide on tour.  Those are the ones I was aware of.

I get the feeling that things are no where near the general population's rate.



Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on May 31, 2011, 14:26:06
Per the study:

Quote
• For both males and females in the entire CF CAMS cohort, when all ages were considered, the risk of dying from suicide was not significantly different from that of the general population.
...
• Age-specific analyses indicated that CF CAMS females aged 40 to 44 were more than twice as likely to die from suicide as their same-age counterparts in the general population. These differences were statistically significant.

Note that the study examined much more than just suicide; it examined overall mortality.

EDIT to add:

Female suicide rates by age were only provided for the 40-44 age group; for thoer groups, the sample space was small enough that there was a risk of identifying individuals.

And for retired members:

Quote
• In the male released CF CAMS population, the risk of suicide was about one and a half times higher than in the general male population. This difference was statistically significant.

So: men who are serving - same suicide risk.  Retired men: higher suicide risk.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on May 31, 2011, 14:34:47
And still more:

Quote
Among the released cohort (military personnel that enrolled and released between 1972 and 2006), there was a higher risk of suicide in males aged 16 to 44, and in women aged 40 to 44, when compared to the general population. These findings prompted the need for a closer examination of factors potentially related to suicide among the released CF CAMS cohort.

Findings from the proportional hazards model showed that the risk of suicide in the released group of military personnel was highest among male non-commissioned members with short periods of service who were released for non-voluntary reasons. Furthermore, the risk of suicide was higher for personnel with military service during the 1972 to 1986 time period.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on May 31, 2011, 15:11:01
I get the feeling that things are no where near the general population's rate.

I am not sure how accurate the "gen pop" suicide versus accident stats are.
It is not always obvious on scene if the cause of death was suicide, or accidental. Even when suicide is suspected, but not obvious, for the sake of the family, ( often in the home, looking you in the eye ) the word "suicide" is seldom spoken. For example, there is still debate if the overdose death of Marilyn Monroe in 1962 was suicide or accidental. Same with some gun deaths.

Here is a story about "gen pop" suicide versus accidental stats from an insurance angle:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-01/accidental-death-becomes-suicide-when-insurers-dodge-paying-life-benefits.html
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Pieman on May 31, 2011, 15:21:22
Quote
I am not sure how accurate the "gen pop" suicide versus accident stats are.
Yes, one always have to take any statistical report with a grain of salt.

Good link, and an awful story. Have to wonder what kind of person is working in the insurance company and is comfortable making a decision like that.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: aesop081 on May 31, 2011, 15:24:24
Yes, one always have to take any statistical report with a grain of salt.

That is why i take your comment about 2 suicides in 3 years comment with a grain of salt. In almost 19 years of service i have only known one who commited suicide and one who had a failed attempt.

I'm sure reality lies somewhere in between.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Kirsten Luomala on May 31, 2011, 20:55:37
but every base has a different population and  experience. I personally know of 2 suicides in my 24 years in the CF (meaning knowing the individual)s as well as during my 4 year stay at Base Borden, in 2010 Jan to Mar 3 separate suicides (3 different schools, and rank levels).  So Pieman may very well have know of 2 suicides in 3 years and you CDN Aviator may have had only known one suicide.  Doen't mean either is wrong in their stats just different exposures.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on May 31, 2011, 22:11:05
I'm general population and I've lost two very close people to suicide.  First was my father, and it was obvious by method.  Prior attempts were less obvious, a few wrecked cars, DUI; and other times threatening with a weapon, means.  Stressors were illness (later stages of alcoholism); losses (in unmanageable financial debt; legal stressors; loss of ability to function in his occupation [due to DTs, and needing a steady hand).  Unwilling to seek professional help, steadfast refusal to get help (addiction pollution of the mind).  This was back at a time, not much community support, or awareness ('79). 

Other one, stressors: terminal illness; full loss of ability to function in work due to illness; unmanageable financial debt, and relapse back into a serious addiction.  It was an OD, after not using for a longer period of time; "do not ressussitate order" on his file.  Statistically, it's recorded as 'accidental', but likely it was suicide, and/or wrecklessness under the influence.  He also had his first meeting with a social worker, I thought things were going to be okay, but maybe he wasn't up for it.  Was it a last hurrah, before getting serious about extended addiction treatment or tired from the strains of illness.  He said things were okay after leaving my door, but 2 more days of the bender, he didn't survive.

I spent most of my life being hypervigilant re: risks of suicide, while with respect to not crowd others 24/7 (I've had to be watchful over my younger brother).  I actually worked in a field among a high risk population (homeless youth), trained in Suicide Intervention and about 20-40 or so sucessful interventions, so others could survive through the crisis to another day, this over the course of 10 years.  It was street patrol, meeting others where they were at, I'm haunted by some of those exposures, but I have a grip on my PTSD, and managing and at least understanding flashback when it's occuring (much better with it).

Statistically, my family members and myself are higher risk for suicide because of having it in the family, constitutes as a "prior attempt", increasing risk factor.   Plus the PTSD and latent ptsd that developed through my family (and myself).  Mom had it within months after my father's completed suicide, regularly suicidal, adrenalized, explosive, violent rage, etc.  My younger brother and I survived amidst the continuing on-going crisis for years, but it was a time bomb and hit us in our adulthood.  Children handling what ought to have been handled by mental health professionals, yet there was also a refusal to get help by my mom (despite Child Protection order-- she showed up once and quit, and it was never followed up on).  This fried my physiology/brain, over-use of stress response, rapid unpredictability, continual life-threatening crisis.

I think when a suicide happens on base, it would be good to remain vigilant re: risks to others, important to build on health/resilience, self-care, maintaining some regular routine where possible and awreness of use of support services.

PTSD is a frustrating disability and for me, it resulted in loss of ability to function, not only for the employment I was in, but cognitive impairment, problems of concentration, not able to even read a paragraph, brain was bouncing everywhere.  I'm recovering, live for the better days and I'm having more of those.  I raised the bar for myself on what is "last resort" for me, and that is to call a crisis line, when it's really bad.  And Ativan, if that doesn't do it.   I'm financially poor, but I'm not in debt and I can live within my means.  I don't have young children to look after, but I'm watchful for my younger brother, who moved in with me, after facing financial crisis.  I'm fortunate we get along well, have a suvivor pact, and he is someone I have fought for all my life, to "not leave behind".

Bombardier Manning's death has triggered some grief for me as I imagine the turmoil his family can be facing :(, but I am also comforted with knowledge that CF and mental health services have come a long way and that there's communities of support for them.  I had of those 'labrynth dreams" last night, chasing after one of my lost ones, expression from my unconsciousness,  the wish I could have save him, protected him, but different from the intensity of some of my ptsd nightmares, it didn't immoblize me today (not lost in time and space").   I have less panic about some of the older traumas, so I can understand with less overhwelment.  I have very strong inner resources which has been important for my survival, because in my situation, I'm one of those who have fallen between the cracks of a social support system, two-tiered medical health care system re: ptsd treatment.  It's been a slow slog, but easier for me when I left the ambivalence of suicidal impulses behind me (which do happpen when overwhelmed by flashback hell), to firmly committ to life, whatever it takes.   I did access short-term help from a social worker, who could teach me flashback management, and just that bit of presense to what I was presenting which helped me better be able to recognize flashback when it is happening, dissociation.  I understand it more from a physiological perspective, which I like, because symptoms can present in the body, before flashback and I've leart I don't need to feed into 'story line" which makes the suffering worse for me.  Just a tip, not sure if they're using it in CF, but Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is an awesome tool and practice to get to learn.

A few things of comfort I remind myself of: "Can't change the winds, but I can adjust the sails" (attitude to remember); "If you're going through hell, keep going" (Winston Churchill); "the best way out is always through" (Robert Frost?).

The luxury I do have today is that I'm safe, I'm not in a danger zone.  A lot more is possible, having that.  I expect full recovery, a manageable recovery, a change in occupation, yes.  It was hard to let go, because my self identityy was very locked into my profession, too much of a service habit, it was completely new learning to learn self-care, the part of me that's not career.  Changes are opportunities for new beginnings, if we're able get through the letting go process and open up to newer possibilities, dip the feet in newer directions.

I'm sensitive to the recent  loss of Bombarier Manning and I thought I'd share a perspective from civillian life as I think there can be crossovers re: risk factors for sucidide/accidental death, civillian and non-civillian.  We invest a lot into career, personally and financially, but it doesn't have to be the end-all, be-all, when changes are necessary (just have to focus on survival of it, till in a better space to re-build) , it's just hard to let go of service when theres a lot of personal investment in it.  External pressures exist in both military and civillian spheres.  As a civillian ptsd-sufferer, we can also face external attitudes of 'suck it up", 'get over it", and a whole barrage of sterotypes, pop psych, or accused of being 'whinny", but as I've experienced PTSD for some years, I'm more convinced of it's physiological manifestation, flashbacks proceed formalized thought (it's fragments from experience, recall that is stuck in the hippocampus region of the brain, not processed by the neo-cortex/frontal lobe) not yet thought, just a trigger, but they can grip and not let go and wrose and more stress fighting it, getting angry at it, ashamed of it.  They carry emotional content, grief, stuff that was stuffed back through the survival mode through a situation, context, dissociated memory.  It's a brain injury, though less visibly obvious vs.  ABI/TBI physical impact.

There are times, I probably should have gone to the hospital, but as a person who is service-oriented and with some caregiving responsibilities (ill brother-- I'm 'big sister" ;) ), put  it ,not convenient to get help, the condition and the fatigue worsened.  Dutiful, had to stay strong for others, sense of responsibility, etc.  I'm not comofrtable with my community knowing I need to go to the hospital.  I suffer intense shame if my ptsd leaks in front of others, self-directed anger.  I carried a strong pride in being reliable, holding it together for others.  I contain by writing, but not showing it in presense of others, unless if I got to a support group, hard to find re: civillian resources, no private insurance.  There is a skilled crisis line, that can handle ptsd.  I don't feel like a burden because I know they get crisis de-briefing.,so it's guilt-free for me and safe-- not going to get pop psych, or 'suck it up", 'get over it" which is misunderstanding, it's the symptoms that are more problematic, I can't move, get things done, brain is stuck.  If I described contents of flashback, it's disturbing stuff, others discomfort , natural defense mechanism of others is denial (from fear, caught up in their own 'storylines", and 'myths" about things).  It also allows containment from a work environment or environment for which I carry duties and responsibilities.

There are newer technologies (MEG) for detecting PTSD damage on the brain, I don't know if the military would consider using it  (i.e., on a voluntary basis) to help in assessing risk  For depression, it can be possible to re-focus, distract; for PTSD symptoms, there's some other issues, though ptsd and depression, anxiety also tend to co-exist, so there are different "first aid" coping strategies for each state and stage, and individually discovering what works best, and  re-adjusting them as needed.  PTSD intrusions have caused me to experience sucidal thoughts, a way to block it, numb it, try to get 'it' to stop, make it go away.  Ill like this on a regular basis, I would not be able to function in a frontlines  CF capacity, higher responsibility, where freezing/stuck is not affordable.

Mental illness is a hard loss, related losses re: career, financial, personal pride/shame, etc. which can be really hard for civillians and non-civillians, alike, but maybe less privacy in the military context because working and living with others context, e.g. if happens in the context of the barracks?  I hide it from those I live with, by finding a quite space, write, use crisis line and others respecting my need for privacy, alone time.

Anyway, this is just meant to share a perspective from an anonymous person who experiences it, witnessed it, and it's affects among family members.  It's not meant to be 'about me", but some aspects of risk factors, stressors, interplay of suicidal person (hidden conditions) and environment with emphasis on ptsd symtomology.  PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, addictions are also risk factors among military service people: exposure to loses; fried physiology/combat fatigue, risks of burnout; being in positions of high responsiblity for protection of life and defending oneself, an interrdependent team.  I imagine it would be very hard, things can change rapidly in a matter of split seconds, it's human to lose a second or two, an error in a split second judgement, or someone else's error, and accountability an change in the wind, no chance to the sail, but it can also be fatal and that's high stress to carry :/ especially when unreasonable with oneself, unforgiving.  We ask a lot of human beings, those called to service for our country.  My deepest respect to all.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Blackadder1916 on June 01, 2011, 03:10:43
I am not sure how accurate the "gen pop" suicide versus accident stats are.
It is not always obvious on scene if the cause of death was suicide, or accidental. Even when suicide is suspected, but not obvious, for the sake of the family, ( often in the home, looking you in the eye ) the word "suicide" is seldom spoken.  . . . . . .

The "gen pop" statistics are probably as accurate as the "mil pop" statistics.  Regardless of the career, those who kill themselves generally do it all the same way, okay, in all the same variety of ways.  Of the ones that I had a professional nexus to (both during my military service and in a civilian capacity), there was similarity in number and method (gunshots, overdoses, hangings, cars running in garages . . . ), likewise with attempts.  The only unique "military" method that I didn't see replicated by a civilian was jumping off a cliff.

Fortunately, determination of cause of death is not made by first responders wishing to spare the feelings of the family.  Again there is a similarity between "gen pop" and "mil pop" - the same authorities (medical examiner, coroner, etc) makes the finding.  If there is a preceived error in the statistics due to including some as accidental deaths, that variance may most likely be the same in both population groups.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Pieman on June 01, 2011, 04:41:16
Quote
That is why i take your comment about 2 suicides in 3 years comment with a grain of salt. In almost 19 years of service i have only known one who committed suicide and one who had a failed attempt.

I'm sure reality lies somewhere in between.

I am sure it is somewhere in-between, I still have a hard time believing it is the same as the suicide rates in the general population.

Quote
but every base has a different population and  experience. I personally know of 2 suicides in my 24 years in the CF (meaning knowing the individual)s as well as during my 4 year stay at Base Borden, in 2010 Jan to Mar 3 separate suicides (3 different schools, and rank levels).  So Pieman may very well have know of 2 suicides in 3 years and you CDN Aviator may have had only known one suicide.  Doen't mean either is wrong in their stats just different exposures.
 

I totally agree. The numbers I posted there are accurate to my experience in the army. Shacks I stayed in were dominantly combat arms, and lots of guys staying there just after coming back from deployments. I was surrounded by people who are probably much higher risk to suicide than the rest of the army population. So that might be a good explanation to why I was seeing a lot more. Does this mean it is the same rate as the general population? Could be, but I am not sure I am convinced.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on June 01, 2011, 11:51:57
I am sure it is somewhere in-between, I still have a hard time believing it is the same as the suicide rates in the general population.
 

I totally agree. The numbers I posted there are accurate to my experience in the army. Shacks I stayed in were dominantly combat arms, and lots of guys staying there just after coming back from deployments. I was surrounded by people who are probably much higher risk to suicide than the rest of the army population. So that might be a good explanation to why I was seeing a lot more. Does this mean it is the same rate as the general population? Could be, but I am not sure I am convinced.

I think that can be a really hard time for others, trying to 're-acclimatize', 'get back to 'normal'.  I had friend, US Marine, post-Iraq-- he hated being back, restlessness, was hating his wife-- he just wanted to get back to the action (physiologically, adrenalized, not re-regulating?).  He presented suicidal risks, the highest re: immediate risks re: planning of method, deciding on method, having access to that method, choosing a time, bringing out that method with intent. . .  What was strong for him and worked in his favour was his prior training in firearms protocol, and being reminded about that, he 'soldiered up' (professionalism) that helped re-steady him.  He survived that crisis and crisis period in his life.  Got in for an assessment, dx'd ptsd, and hung on through the wait for VA services to kick in, partially with support of an on-line community, safe, private place to express.  He got an honourable discharge, re-created his life, took a creative career re-direction; the marriage remained in tact, very in-love (for better and for worse ;) -- they pull together, make it work).  Live-style/career changes, but a really good outcome-- he found a new career direction that he's thriving in and loves it.  He had an abundance of talents and creativity he hadn't tapped.  In the hardest times of struggling, he also found faith, a deeper connection, tested.  I was a different kind of friend, I respected feelings, anger, rage, but also as a bit of a feminist, etc. reminder of responsibility for one's actions, clarity of relationship boundaries (support the wife too).  The wife and him shared some pretty cool hobbies, reall cool adventures together.

Suicide attempt was averted and not statistically recorded.  There may be higher risks, but they can also be mitigated by a variety of factors, resilience, discovery of inner strengths not known till under the heat of experiencing the suffering.  Creative means of safer expression. 

Military people I've encountered with ptsd, and struggling with suicidal impulses, occupations have been combat-related: infantry, medical corps (ambulance, field medics), MPs/in-field intelligence gathering, direct exposures to life-threatening harm, losses and grief is something that can hit back, especially when out of the survival mode, high level of responsibility, survival and protection (where there isn't the luxury to feel it, not compatible mode).  I didn't get hit with full out ptsd, till I was away from survival mode, hit me a 7 years later, it started to bite back.  There were not IED explosions, but explosions of a different nature, still had the physiological effect, booting up survival stress response, risks of injury, life-threatening harm, self/others.

I've seen even in  the wildlife population, manifestations of grief, shock.  I once travelled a road, the driver ahead must have hit this red-tailed hawk.  It's mate was in shock, and swooped down right infront of our car, like anger, shock, a suicide ?  We were able to brake, and checked in on the downed bird, it was freshly hit, but not saveable, died on impact.  Just saying this, cause there's a universality to grief, reactions and actions may differ, but it's part of our wiring  as living beings.


I think statistical gathering by specific military occupations merits study.  I don't know what the stats are re: in-field, combat arms vs. administration (30% to 70%?).  Mental illness can strike anyone regardless of occupation and that's a high risk factor re: suicide attempts.  I'd think the risk factors  for ptsd are stronger with direct exposure, risk to self and others is direct?  Burnout and fatigue can happen in many occupations, anxiety, depression.  Usually there is a trigger event which can bring out a latent mental health disorder, that maybe otherwise wouldn't manifest?

Statistics at best are indicators.  Studies can be biased by things such as sampling which can also conceal trends and realities and are subject to interpretation, areas for further study.  The danger of them is when they are used by policy makers, justifications to remove needed services, protocols to help prevent suicide deaths. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on June 01, 2011, 12:36:45
I need to walk away from the thread, before it gets too triggering for me.  I feel a duty to express truthfully, and I'm civillian with no professional obligations, so just making use of that freedom; but I also have a duty to keep myself healthy.  Just wanted to express some perspectives, generate some debate, validate experiences.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Simian Turner on June 01, 2011, 14:36:38

Statistics at best are indicators.  Studies can be biased by things such as sampling which can also conceal trends and realities and are subject to interpretation, areas for further study.  The danger of them is when they are used by policy makers, justifications to remove needed services, protocols to help prevent suicide deaths.

That is why the study (covering 35 years of data) was done through Statistics Canada who have no stake in the outcome.

The final statement in the limitations section of the study states: "The findings of this study therefore apply to a subgroup of the released population and should not be generalized to the overall population of veterans."

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on June 01, 2011, 16:28:51
Feb 2010
"Report of the Canadian Forces Expert Panel on Suicide Prevention: 

"Suicide rates tend to be somewhat lower in service members relative to the general population: In the Canadian Forces, the suicide rate for Regular Force males * is approximately 20% lower than those of the general population of the same age.":
http://www.forces.gc.ca/health-sante/ps/dh-sd/spr-rps-eng.asp#Summary
* "There are so few suicides in women in the CF that is not appropriate to calculate and report their suicide rates."
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on June 02, 2011, 20:09:42
June 1, 2011
"Suicide rates among currently serving CF personnel are, however, lower than those among the overall population and there has been no statistically significant change in suicide rates since 1995.":
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=3799
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on June 03, 2011, 00:07:53
Feb 2010
"Report of the Canadian Forces Expert Panel on Suicide Prevention: 

"Suicide rates tend to be somewhat lower in service members relative to the general population: In the Canadian Forces, the suicide rate for Regular Force males * is approximately 20% lower than those of the general population of the same age.":
http://www.forces.gc.ca/health-sante/ps/dh-sd/spr-rps-eng.asp#Summary
* "There are so few suicides in women in the CF that is not appropriate to calculate and report their suicide rates."

Thanks for supplying that document link.  That makes me feel a lot better.  It shows deep engagement with the issues, sound research. 

So lower incidence of suicide rate, attributed to better screening of mental health disorders.  Also recognition of stressors which can contribute to the development of mental health disorder.  PTSD is indisputably a combat-related injury and can develop at anytime as a result of exposures, on a person's physiology.

Interesting the point re: estimation of 54% with PTSD but not recieving treatment, one of the reasons being unaware of ptsd existing.  I think ptsd is one of those things that can creep up slowly over time, present some symptoms (e.g. nightmares, anxiety), but still able to carry on, function.  Another issue, can be comorbity of addictions overtop of ptsd and that could be anything from alcohol/drugs to workaholism, or other ways of either numbing or other ways of adrenalizing as a way to block out distress/symptoms, to 'carry-on'.  I knew a CF member with ptsd, and it was alcoholism that creeped up over time, and eventually of course fails when hitting the later stages of addiction, creating more incapacitation, a medical emergency.  Post-addiction treatment and learning to face the ptsd head on as trying to maintain sobriety.  He had good things to say about CF response, medical support, OSI clinic, and was accessing the very best of the civilian resources for ptsd-treatment (though that also requires private health coverage).  E.g. Homewood-- it's 4-6 months wait with private health coverage, treating others from the States first, before Canadians without private health coverage, as it's a private hospital.  Provincially funded beds exist, but the waitlist is years.

I think CBT can be positive treatment for anxiety, depression, anger, addictions, and adapted re: suicide prevention, separating thought from actions.  I had an introduction to the concepts via a provincially funded one month hospital outpatient program, post hospitalization.  Hard to adapt to PTSD symptoms which make it hard to stay present, dissociation post-flasback and flashback appears to occur with the body first before throught, although there can be a triggering thought, but flashback happens fast, hard to track.  For this reason, I think the Mindfulness Based Stress Recution can help assist PTSD-sufferers and make it easier to adapt to CBT, because it helps ground, present moment, rediscover what safety feels like, mind/body and in a safe place.  I discovered this accidentally, it was available via a community health centre for free.

Psychotherapy would be an obvious benefit, a trained professional who is attentive to also non-verbal communication, because those provide information about flashback coming on before it happens.  I think it's hard for a ptsd-sufferier to figure that out on one's own, or through whatever 'help books', but feedback from a neutral professional observer can help the sufferer begin to recognize their own symptoms better and there are ways to avert flashback if mindful and catching it before it takes hold.  I had short term experience of a social worker who could did this.  There are civilains who have been exposed to combat situations, mind go on behind closed doors even, or unsafe experiences on our streets here.  Physiology boots up to threat, and long term and no escape, can damage.  The public is not movitaved to wish for taxes to go into school programs, or further stress on an already stressed medical care system.  Psychiatrists are years waitlists.  Although positive things are when doctors take some training re: ptsd assessment (which would matter re: role of medications).

There are a lot of financially strapped work envonments, non-unionized, private sector, or non-profit orgs with no health benefits.  I wonder about non-military, ngo  relief workers in combat zonese.

Help for families and unit is a good idea post-suicide.  Can prevent trauma-formed unhealthy thinking habits from becoming too entrenched, e.g. suvivor guilt.  Relationship and also proximity to event, also risks to children, re: grief, dependent and ifi the caregiver is overwhelmed, can add to the suffering of the children, more complicated problems.

Restriction to access of means is good protocol, I think that would help prevent risk, although a person that is really determined, can find other ways of obtaining means.  It's positive to know the trainging of others on base as well in this regard, a higher standard vs. civilian owners of means.  There are Mental Health Act laws which do apply, but civilian community is less prepared generally.  Will for changes though, don't really exist unless one's been exposed, otherwise doesn't fit with necessityies of fiscal constraint, federal/provincial, etc.  Two-tired help re: ptsd, it's taken for granted "uuniversal health care" which is not true in all cases.

Anyway, I'm really glad to see some good work being done at CF.  Cheers
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on June 03, 2011, 01:18:27
Just some afterthoughts. 

I know I'm afflicted with post-suicide survivor-guilt, hard-wired in me, over a lifetime with it, I can't seem to escape that.  I forget to put a check on it, and I fail to recognize that hypervigilance when it overtakes me.  It's somewhat masochistic to dislose what I have.  I feel a lot better from seeing that the Military is taking the suicide issues, mental health issues seriously and diligently.  I'm like a crow, picking at dead things, drawn to it (trauma compulsion).

Pieman, maybe really out of line of me to suggest this (I'm out of line a lot), but I'm wondering if the losses from your barracks, has left some trauma-imprints on you, some 'complicated grief' that is sticking.  I tend to avoid facing my 'feelings directly' and displace it as anger, and hypervigilance towards external issues-- I get mad at the "system" a lot ;)  There's a good exercise in Aphrodite Matsaki's book, Trust After Trauma re: survivor guilt, realistic appraising of conditions at the time.  It's hard work, that's CBT based, but grief that's been sitting with us for a while, can take hold physioligically, emotionally, etc.

There are some things in life, we're unlikely to just 'get over', those losses can bite back from time to time, even if we think we've 'finished with it'.  I think I've left them behind, only to get a dream/nightmare that reminds me I still hurt, feel the loss (I hide my feelings from others and myself often, in everyday-life, numb it by habit).  I guess it's a matter of monitoring it, and if it's hiccuping a lot, and if the services of help and support are available-- grab it.

From the CF report, estimates of 1/4 of suicides are not preventable, regardless of availability of help.  I feel that my father's suicide was possibly preventable, but we weren't skilled or supported at that time, or prepared by trainign, education, etc.and likewise with the system.  There would have been times for earlier intervention ik we had knowledge and support from the system (we were all friend and burntout from over the years, numb, recurrent trauam/crises.  Also, barriers, attitude of 'suck it up' or denial, 'it'll get better, this crisis will pass-- but it didn't-- it's human, not exclusive to the military or 'military culture' per se, it's also in the dominant culture: stigma, shame, mad eyour bed, suck it up.  The other one, person sought help, knew about resources, but chose differently.  That one I don't think was preventable, he didn't hang on to learn, be open that he could learn, and didn't want to face the declinging health, due to terminal illness.  He didn't want it to look like a suicide, he loved his family, was very well-loved, that's unfortunately not always enough.

My father took himself out in an alcoholic rage, with the means.  It's imprinted on the family, the proximity ot the event, witnessing, direct with the drama of it, etc.  We should have called the cops, but also anxiety abou tthe process, what ifs, getting released when not safe for him or us, etc.  It was him or us, lots of indications he would have taken us down with him, re: prior threats on us with the means.

Those 'means' figure into some family members suicidal ideation, my brother and I.  I'm grateful, split second decision between motel room, drun kand going out to find the means vs. a plane ticket home-- my brother is still alive.  Also, later when he went searching for the means, the street peddler was ethical enough over greed to not sell the means.  Knowing that access to the means would mean having to deal with unscruppled people, remains a helpful deterent for me.  It'd take a lot of energy to do that and I hate those people anyway.

Deterrence, ways of containing risk I guess is as best as can be done.

Okay, going ot walk away from this for a while.  I'm glad to learn of CF concientiousness on sucide prevention and responding to mental health issues, emergencies. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Journeyman on June 03, 2011, 02:15:38
I'd just sent kstart a PM on assisted suicide -- not in the context of young troops, but thinking of my dad, who rotted away in a retirement home. I didn't want to derail this thread, but now that I've sent the PM, maybe other members have some thoughts.....

Mods, if there are any relevant responses, perhaps a split.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Pieman on June 03, 2011, 02:59:53
Thanks for the link to the report Mariomike. I will have to make the time to sit down and read it over.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on June 03, 2011, 09:49:49
Thanks for the link to the report Mariomike. I will have to make the time to sit down and read it over.

I am not an expert on prevention, Pieman and Kstart. But, there is one thing I remember a lady said when we asked why she had attempted. She said because no one had smiled at her lately.  :)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Simian Turner on June 03, 2011, 11:17:53
I am not an expert on prevention, Pieman and Kstart. But, there is one thing I remember a lady said when we asked why she had attempted. She said because no one had smiled at her lately.  :)

One of the interesting contrasts between two soldiers, their response to the simple greeting - "Hi, How are you?"  Soldier 1: "Another day closer to retirement".  Soldier 2: "Not sure how you want me to answer that?  Do you have time to discuss it or do you really care how I'm doing? "

For many of us in uniform at points during our careers, 'How are you?' is not a greeting, it is a very hard question?

I have experience with CBT and SSRIs as a patient for more than a decade.  I have spent time involuntarily and voluntarily in a lock-down ward.  I will always remember advice given to me by a US Senior Army Officer: "If you intend on asking my soldiers 'how they are', you best be prepared to make time to hear their answer.  We encourage honesty in my Army.  Always look your troops in their eyes when you greet them.  You could be saving a life!"
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kstart on June 04, 2011, 16:22:10
Marionmike, Simian Turner: those are both great attitudes.

Smiles: ""it don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while"-- John Prine ;)  It can make the difference between having a totally lousy day, to more manageable one, a beacon of light, hope. :)

One of the interesting contrasts between two soldiers, their response to the simple greeting - "Hi, How are you?"  Soldier 1: "Another day closer to retirement".  Soldier 2: "Not sure how you want me to answer that?  Do you have time to discuss it or do you really care how I'm doing? "

For many of us in uniform at points during our careers, 'How are you?' is not a greeting, it is a very hard question?

I have experience with CBT and SSRIs as a patient for more than a decade.  I have spent time involuntarily and voluntarily in a lock-down ward.  I will always remember advice given to me by a US Senior Army Officer: "If you intend on asking my soldiers 'how they are', you best be prepared to make time to hear their answer.  We encourage honesty in my Army.  Always look your troops in their eyes when you greet them.  You could be saving a life!"

Sounds like a very wise man and it's a good leadership quality, fitting in with "lead by example".  It's hard to hide what's going on when asked, "how are you"-- if something's up, it can get one thinking, pause to answer, especially as in seeking to answer honestly.

Impressive that you've worked on CBT for more than a decade.  I just realized I can open that up again, use the forms, re-start a journal (I'm re-examining 'core beliefs' and hypervigilance/triggers).  I think CBT can be good for anyone, heck, good officer's training even, promotes clarity of thought and I think doing that work for a while for oneself, increases perceptiveness when hearing others.  Hospital is a good learning experience too.

Early detection of symptoms, knowing when to monitor and when help can be sought.  It's good to see this attitude, makes sense to work together.

I see good innovative thinking from that report, so if people are working together and there's a back up system for support, that's a good win-win scenario.  I can see many positive attributes of the Military "community", some exemplar innovation, other workplaces and communities can learn from.

I like the preservation of principles of leadership and an on-going seeking of excellence.  They're conditions which can also bring out the best in others, young and older.

It's Great work  :salute:

Journeyman, I PM'd you.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on June 07, 2011, 00:24:04
This may be of interest.
"How should 911 handle potential suicide victims?":
" "Ah Jesus, I go to my door and it's two ambulance guys with a gurney ... asking, `Can we come in?'"
After a 25-minute chat, McArthur says he convinced the ambulance attendants he was not about to harm himself.
Indeed, he gave one of them a ride around the parking lot in the sidecar of his 1963 BMW motorcycle."
http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/696384
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Pieman on September 30, 2011, 20:24:45
During a three year period I count two suicides that happened in the shacks I was living in, one suicide on exercise, and one suicide on tour.  Those are the ones I was aware of.

I get the feeling that things are no where near the general population's rate.

Sadly I need to add another number to this post. That makes 2 suicides from people that I have worked with directly.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 30, 2011, 20:34:03
Cheerful subject ;D

It seems to be a big deal in the US Army, which issues monthly suicide statistics:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/army-suicides-set-record-in-july/2011/08/12/gIQAfbGlBJ_story.html
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on August 07, 2013, 01:17:43
Interesting findings from a US study.  http://globalnews.ca/news/764998/military-study-disputes-link-between-combat-and-suicide/
Quote
Military study disputes link between combat and suicide
Lindsey Tanner
Global News
06 Aug 13


CHICAGO – Combat appears to have little or no influence on suicide rates among U.S. troops and veterans, according to a military study that challenges the conventional thinking about war’s effects on the psyche.

Depression and other types of mental illness, alcohol problems and being male — strong risk factors for suicide among civilians — were all linked to self-inflicted deaths among current and former members of the military.

But the researchers found deployment and combat did not raise the risk.
 

“The findings from this study are not consistent with the assumption that specific deployment-related characteristics, such as length of deployment, number of deployments, or combat experiences, are directly associated” with suicides, the authors wrote.

The results echo smaller studies focusing on a specific branch of the military, but this is the first to look at a sampling from the entire military population, said lead author Cynthia LeardMann, a researcher with the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.

More than 145,000 people from all branches took part, including active-duty service members, reservists and retirees, and they were followed from 2001 to 2008, a period in which the U.S. waged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The findings were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A recent increase in the military suicide rate has raised concerns about a possible link between suicide and combat, including long or repeated tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the new study should lay those concerns to rest, said Dr. Nancy Crum-Cianflone, another researcher with the Navy centre.

She is leading a larger study on the health effects of serving in the military. The newly released findings are based on a subset of participants in that study.

The 2001-08 study looked at a small portion of the thousands of suicides among active-duty service members and veterans during that time.

There were 78 suicides among the study participants, or an average of almost 12 per 100,000 people followed for one year. The rate was about two times higher among men and people with depression, and a little higher than that among those with alcohol problems. But it was four times higher among those with bipolar disorder.

Pentagon data show there were 349 suicides last year alone among active-duty troops, the most since 2001.

Crum-Cianflone said the military suicide rate climbed sharply between 2005 and 2009, to about 20 per 100,000 people followed for one year. At the same time, there was an increase in the number of people with mental illness in the military. The reason for that is unclear, the study authors said.

The suicide rate in the general population also increased in recent years, to almost 18 per 100,000 in 2010, according to a JAMA editorial.

David Rudd, scientific director for the non-profit National Center for Veterans Studies, said the study provides only a snapshot and doesn’t answer whether combat exposure increases the lifetime risk of suicide.

Rudd said evidence suggests most service members who attempt suicide had pre-existing psychiatric problems and may have been suicidal before entering the military. That, he said, suggests a need for better screening and treatment.

In the study, depression was present in about 23 per cent of those who committed suicide and almost 11 per cent of those who didn’t take their lives. Six per cent of the suicides involved bipolar disorder, compared with less than 1 per cent of the non-suicides. Alcohol-related problems afflicted 30 per cent of the suicides and 14 per cent of the non-suicides.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome was uncommon and by itself was not found to be a suicide risk factor.

But Dr. Charles Hoge, a study co-author and retired Army psychiatrist, said: “Service members with PTSD often experience co-existing depression or alcohol problems, which would increase their risk” of suicide.

Rachel Yehuda, director of traumatic stress studies at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the study “calls into question the previously assumed relationship between length of combat exposure and suicide” but doesn’t address other ways combat affects mental health.

Hoge said service members are routinely and extensively screened for mental illness before enlisting and afterward and those who are seriously ill are rejected. But he noted that some mental illnesses typically emerge first in young adulthood.

He said the military has made great efforts to offer treatment to those affected.

“There’s been a huge increase over the last several years in the number of mental health professionals working at military facilities,” Hoge said. These include combat stress teams in the field and counsellors back home.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Szczep on August 07, 2013, 10:02:10
Problem solved!
Research done by employee of Naval Health Research Center in San Diego.
Paid by Navy/Pentagon/etc.  No need to look after veterans, ill and injured, etc., etc.
Self explanatory.
Well done.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Teager on August 07, 2013, 11:06:22
I find it odd that they are trying to point towards drinking as the casue of suicides. If the member had no drinking problems prior to deployment and then began drinking after deployment there is obviously a connection with deployment. I'm sick of hearing how its always the drinking or drug problem that is for the reason for their behaviour. It may be a contributing factor but there is a reason why they started drinking/drugs. Of course the government won't look into that connection because that will mean $$$.

Heres a link to a more detailed version of the above.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/health/soldier-suicides-cause-study/
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on August 07, 2013, 11:23:01
To have arrived at the conclusion that the study did, it would not have done so by making excuses.  It would have done so by having found the rate of suicide to have no statistically significant difference between personnel who have deployed and personnel who have not deployed.

If there was a flaw in the methodology, it won't be apparent in the news articles.  We will have to wait for the next edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. 

I think most of us are aware of other research pointing to increased mental injury amongst vets.  Is it conceivable that this higher rate of mental injury does not necessarily mean a higher rate of suicide?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on August 07, 2013, 11:35:30
.... We will have to wait for the next edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association ....
Wait no longer....
"Risk Factors Associated With Suicide in Current and Former US Military Personnel" (http://bit.ly/1cvpHjJ) - also attached if the link doesn't work for you.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Humphrey Bogart on August 07, 2013, 11:50:22
You cannot pinpoint one specific cause behind why someone commits suicide or why someone has a mental health issue.  I will point to Maslow's hierarchy of needs:

(https://Air-Force.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F24.media.tumblr.com%2Ftumblr_lovhmwhJF31qcrz20o1_500.gif&hash=5feb92765ce83d954cf50b0d0f0b7cbd)

The more needs (both physical & psychological) that go unfulfilled or are taken away, the more someone is at risk to suffer from a mental health issue.  To try and pinpoint one thing on why someone is suffering from a mental illness is the wrong approach. 

I find it odd that they are trying to point towards drinking as the cause of suicides. If the member had no drinking problems prior to deployment and then began drinking after deployment there is obviously a connection with deployment. I'm sick of hearing how its always the drinking or drug problem that is for the reason for their behaviour. It may be a contributing factor but there is a reason why they started drinking/drugs. Of course the government won't look into that connection because that will mean $$$.

Heres a link to a more detailed version of the above.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/06/health/soldier-suicides-cause-study/

The funny thing about drinking problems is maybe a person had a drinking problem before but was a functional alcoholic.  When they returned from his deployment it pushed him over the edge.  I have seen a few examples of this in the news where people have come out and said deploying to Afghanistan turned a person into a raging alcoholic.  Maybe but a few cases I have seen, the person already had a drinking problem before they went over and the deployment only exacerbated it.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Teager on August 07, 2013, 12:07:23
Quote
The funny thing about drinking problems is maybe a person had a drinking problem before but was a functional alcoholic.  When they returned from his deployment it pushed him over the edge.  I have seen a few examples of this in the news where people have come out and said deploying to Afghanistan turned a person into a raging alcoholic.  Maybe but a few cases I have seen, the person already had a drinking problem before they went over and the deployment only exacerbated it.

I understand that and believe that they do need to screen people better before deployments to see if there are problems. I have known people both with drinking problems before deployments and people that did not have any problems before but began to have them. I know for some alcohol/drugs is used as a way to numb themselves. I think a further study into problems before and problems after needs to be conducted to better determine causes of suicide.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Humphrey Bogart on August 07, 2013, 13:08:41
I understand that and believe that they do need to screen people better before deployments to see if there are problems. I have known people both with drinking problems before deployments and people that did not have any problems before but began to have them. I know for some alcohol/drugs is used as a way to numb themselves. I think a further study into problems before and problems after needs to be conducted to better determine causes of suicide.

I think it is also kind of funny that we complain about people having drinking problems yet the first thing we do when they leave theatre is let them go to some all-inclusive resort island to "de-compress"  ::) or let them go on vacation halfway through a combat tour which is quite possibly the stupidest policy ever and no way to fight a war.  Their is a whole lot of things we need to do better and I can think of a bunch off the top of my head:

1.  Better-Screening
2.  Battle Inoculation (We never do this and we need to start, when was the last time anyone actually did a crack & thump range?)
3.  Stop rotating leadership and bumping people around the organization so much so Snr NCOs and Offrs actually get to know their men
4.  Let guys drink alcohol while deployed

I think we need to stop looking for a single cause and just accept that this is an after-effect of the business we are in, we need to look at ways of curbing the side-effects that experiencing traumatic stress can have on our soldiers. 






Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: RubberTree on August 07, 2013, 13:26:39
HLTA and decompression are not intended to be booze fests. They are what you make them. If you feel the need to get smashed, that is your prerogative and your decision... No one else's. I would much rather see our soldiers get their first drunk out of the way in a controlled and supportive environment as opposed to waiting until they get home and doing it alone or with their families (who are supportive as well I'm sure but don't understand as well as your fellow soldiers do).
Decompression had proven to be useful and I for one fully support the idea.
Drinking in theatre I think is just asking for trouble. I can't see how ANY good could come off it.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Humphrey Bogart on August 07, 2013, 13:40:08
HLTA and decompression are not intended to be booze fests. They are what you make them. If you feel the need to get smashed, that is your prerogative and your decision... No one else's. I would much rather see our soldiers get their first drunk out of the way in a controlled and supportive environment as opposed to waiting until they get home and doing it alone or with their families (who are supportive as well I'm sure but don't understand as well as your fellow soldiers do).
Decompression had proven to be useful and I for one fully support the idea.
Drinking in theatre I think is just asking for trouble. I can't see how ANY good could come off it.

Don't know about you but if I just spent 6 months with the same people everyday the last thing I really feel like doing is spending more time with them just saying.  HLTA is also a waste of time because it breaks up fighting units at a very critical juncture in a deployment, it can be great for the individual but for the organization it is a bad thing.

As for drinking in theatre, this goes back to treating our soldiers like children.  Many other armies allow alcohol in theatre and seem to get along just fine.  Here is an article highlighting this for your reading pleasure: http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/07/09/working-with-the-french-army/ (http://chrishernandezauthor.com/2013/07/09/working-with-the-french-army/)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: RubberTree on August 07, 2013, 14:35:54
I understand your comment about not wanting to spend more time with the same people you have been with for 6 months and anybody who has been on decompression has heard the same thing countless times. It is a valid point but doesn't override the value of having at least a little bit of down time prior to coming home. Everyone wants to get home as soon as possible...But going from a war zone to reading your kids a bedtime story within 18hrs isn't necessarily a great idea. It may work for some but certainly not all and I would guess (my opinion only) not the majority. Canada has been very proactive with a comprehensive decompression program and I stand by my original comment.
My HLTA comment was referring to your statement regarding drinking and HLTA. I fully agree that pulling a team apart in the middle of a deployment isn't a great idea.  But I don't think it encourages alcohol problems in soldiers.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Teager on August 07, 2013, 15:04:00
I understand your comment about not wanting to spend more time with the same people you have been with for 6 months and anybody who has been on decompression has heard the same thing countless times. It is a valid point but doesn't override the value of having at least a little bit of down time prior to coming home. Everyone wants to get home as soon as possible...But going from a war zone to reading your kids a bedtime story within 18hrs isn't necessarily a great idea. It may work for some but certainly not all and I would guess (my opinion only) not the majority. Canada has been very proactive with a comprehensive decompression program and I stand by my original comment.
My HLTA comment was referring to your statement regarding drinking and HLTA. I fully agree that pulling a team apart in the middle of a deployment isn't a great idea.  But I don't think it encourages alcohol problems in soldiers.

If your HLTA ends up being towards the end of your deployment what is the point of decompression? If you go home on HLTA chances are people are going to drink if they choose too. Theres a thread on smokers on here and in it it talks about guys in Bosina that had alcohol. The impression I got from that was there was no real trouble from anyone. If there was a guy that got out of control he was dealt with. Eventally the tours went dry. Even having a 2 or 3 beer maximum imposed in theater would be nice. It gives soldiers the ability to unwind over a drink or two and shoot the **** with the guys which can help weed out any issues someone may be having. No different then going to the mess after work IMO.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Rider Pride on August 07, 2013, 17:18:21
RoyalDrew,

I agree with what you say, except for this:

2.  Battle Inoculation (We never do this and we need to start, when was the last time anyone actually did a crack & thump range?)


Shooting over people's heads will not prepare them mentally for the smells and sights of blood, guts and burnt flesh. More realistic training with video simshot technology, and including sound and smell would be years ahead of the nothing we have now.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: cupper on August 07, 2013, 20:32:58
I seem to recall another report being released a few months ago that indicated that suicide rates at one base which saw significantly higher deployment rates had higher rates of suicide among those who did not deploy than those that did. If I can remember where the report came from, I'll repost it here.

Also, alcohol and drug abuse is a symptom, not a cause of the problems. In many cases it is a means of self-medication in lieu of seeking treatment for the underlying cause.

Update:

My apologies, the report stated that as many as 1/3 of suicides were by members that did not deploy.

See the thread at the following link for previous discussion on the record number of suicides in 2012.

http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,108998.msg1201824.html#msg1201824
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Humphrey Bogart on August 07, 2013, 20:52:52
RoyalDrew,

I agree with what you say, except for this:

Shooting over people's heads will not prepare them mentally for the smells and sights of blood, guts and burnt flesh. More realistic training with video simshot technology, and including sound and smell would be years ahead of the nothing we have now.

Of course that was just one of many examples of something that could be done along with lots of other stuff.  Put a bunch of dead pigs in a truck and blow it up, you've got your blood & guts and your smell and with that you could make some pretty good scenarios.  QRF responding to an IED strike comes to mind.



Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Teager on August 07, 2013, 21:04:29
Of course that was just one of many examples of something that could be done along with lots of other stuff.  Put a bunch of dead pigs in a truck and blow it up, you've got your blood & guts and your smell and with that you could make some pretty good scenarios.  QRF responding to an IED strike comes to mind.

Actually did this on my predeployment  :nod:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Rider Pride on August 08, 2013, 01:08:00
I find it odd that they are trying to point towards drinking as the casue of suicides. If the member had no drinking problems prior to deployment and then began drinking after deployment there is obviously a connection with deployment. I'm sick of hearing how its always the drinking or drug problem that is for the reason for their behaviour. It may be a contributing factor but there is a reason why they started drinking/drugs.

I read the actual study. There is link between mental illness (which alcohol abuse classified as) and suicide.

And that should be no surprise to anyone.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on August 12, 2013, 01:32:13
... and now a Canadian study that comes to the same conclusion.  Unfortunately, the Canadian study does not look at personnel who have released.  Without data on released personnel (particularly medically released personnel), I don't think the Canadian study is as defensible as the US study.

Quote
Military deployment doesn’t increase suicide risk: studies
Experts want longer-term analysis of combat’s effects on mental illness

Gemma Karstens-Smith,
Ottawa Citizen
11 August 2013


OTTAWA — A soldier who has witnessed the tragedies of war firsthand while deployed overseas is not at a greater risk of suicide than a civilian, two new studies suggest.

The number of men active in the Canadian Forces who killed themselves between 1995 and 2012 was lower than the suicide rates of Canadian men, says a March 2013 Surgeon General report on suicide in the Canadian Forces.

“The finding that CF suicide rates are lower than the general Canadian population rates is not surprising as CF personnel are a screened employed population and would be expected to have lower rates of suicide as well as lower rates of other medical problems,” the authors wrote.

Using data from the Canadian Forces and Statistics Canada, the report’s authors compared suicide rates among current soldiers in the regular Canadian Forces who had and had not been deployed overseas to suicide rates among the Canadian population. The report did not look at suicide rates among veterans or reservists.

After comparing the data, the report’s authors concluded that there is no relationship between history of deployment and suicide risk.

The idea that deployment increases suicide risk comes from people trusting anecdotes and stereotypes over data, said Col. Rakesh Jetly, a Canadian Armed Forces psychiatrist and the senior mental health adviser to the Surgeon General.

“We have a Hollywood version of soldiers deploying, coming back broken, using drugs, abusing their wives, killing themselves — that’s the depiction of it,” Jetly said. “That’s the stereotype and maybe there are people like that, but we have data that shows the vast majority don’t have that.”

A study published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association reached a similar conclusion about deployment and the risk of suicide.

Conducted by researchers at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, the study used data from the National Death Index and the Department of Defense’s Medical Mortality Registry, as well as used surveys conducted for the Millennium Cohort Study, which tracks the health of thousands of service members, to look at suicide rates in the U.S. military between July 1, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2008. The data included men and women in the regular forces and the reserves, some of whom were still active and others who were no longer serving in the military.

Suicide rates among active-duty U.S. military personnel rose from about 10.3 per 100,000 persons in 2005 to 16.3 per 100,000 persons in 2008, and the trend was attributed by some researchers and media to deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the new study refutes that link.

“The findings from this study are not consistent with the assumption that specific deployment-related characteristics, such as length of deployment, number of deployments, or combat experiences, are directly associated with increased suicide risk,” the authors wrote.” Instead, the risk factors associated with suicide in this military population are consistent with civilian populations, including male sex and mental disorders.”


However, some experts caution that deployment can lead to mental illness.

“Depression is a huge risk factor in suicide and certainly combat experience does contribute to that,” said Dr. Zul Merali, president and CEO of the Institute of Mental Health Research at the University of Ottawa.

More work needs to be done to get a fuller picture of the long-term effects of deployment on mental illness and suicide risk, Merali said.

“Combat exposure, or a number of exposures, may not directly have an impact (on suicide risk) but that’s not to say these things are not going to come back to haunt you later on.”

Allan English, an expert in military and veteran’s health at Queen’s University, said the Canadian report is an excellent snapshot of current military personnel, but more research is needed on reservists and veterans to get a full picture on how deployment, combat and stress effect mental health.

“Before, I think, we can make the conclusion that deployments or combat doesn’t affect suicide rates or mental health rates, we better do the follow up stories on the veteran populations in a systematic way,” English said.

Other studies such as the 2011 report “Canadian Forces Cancer and Mortality Study: Causes of Death” have looked at the long-term health of serving and released military personnel, Jetly said.

The study followed people who served in the Canadian Forces between 1972 and 2006, monitoring their health and causes of death.

In terms of suicide, the study found similar results to the March 2013 report, with a few exceptions, such as men who served for less than 10 years and were released for involuntary or medical reasons, Jetly said.

The Canadian Forces has one of the most intensive approaches to suicide prevention and investigation in the world, Jetly said, sending a team to investigate every confirmed suicide of Canadian Forces personnel. The results of the investigation help determine trends and shape policy and protocol, Jetly said.

The Canadian Forces have made progress in addressing mental illness, English said, adding that there is still work to be done.

He emphasized that appropriate resources are needed for the programs helping military personnel living with mental illness.

“It’s fine to have them in theory, but if they’re not properly resourced, this could be a contributor towards suicide rates and other bad outcomes,” English said.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Military+deployment+doesn+increase+suicide+risk+studies/8775995/story.html
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GnyHwy on August 12, 2013, 01:42:28
OK, let us take the numbers at face value.  The next question I ask is - Why did they do it? 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: cupper on August 12, 2013, 19:41:21
OK, let us take the numbers at face value.  The next question I ask is - Why did they do it?

And what could have been done to prevent it?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on September 25, 2013, 12:54:01
Im not sure if this is the right forum or if any Med types can point me to the right one. Ive been retired for 15 yrs now. I never got to Afghanistan or war like so many of the young guys have. Was in Iraq in 1988 but just a cushy peacekeeping mission. Anyway, have had a lot of problems with depression since retiring. In hospital a couple of times and saw a number of Psychiatrists who just seem to throw more expensive pills at the problem. Some of the pills just made things worse. Medical coverage only covered a few visits. Wow, these guys make 300-500 bucks an hour! So, I still have problems, cant afford the pills or shrinks. Veterans affairs only pays for my medical discharge injuries, ie knees and feet, but not mental health. Feeling kinda left out. Is there anything that the military will do for old washed up soldiers. I realize that serving members and especially the guys who served in war theaters take precedence, but would appreciate any advise or points to a forum that might help. Thanks.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: PuckChaser on September 25, 2013, 13:45:57
Veterans affairs only pays for my medical discharge injuries, ie knees and feet, but not mental health. Feeling kinda left out. Is there anything that the military will do for old washed up soldiers. I realize that serving members and especially the guys who served in war theaters take precedence, but would appreciate any advise or points to a forum that might help. Thanks.

Not at all. I finally convinced my father to speak with someone from OSISS for stuff he was dealing with from Bosnia. They got him linked right into VAC, and VAC has been paying up front for all his assessments and treatments for his OSI. Get in touch with your closest JPSU/IPSU and muckle onto their resources, they were extremely helpful for my father getting the help he's needed for years, but never knew where to go.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on September 25, 2013, 15:34:33
Not at all. I finally convinced my father to speak with someone from OSISS for stuff he was dealing with from Bosnia. They got him linked right into VAC, and VAC has been paying up front for all his assessments and treatments for his OSI. Get in touch with your closest JPSU/IPSU and muckle onto their resources, they were extremely helpful for my father getting the help he's needed for years, but never knew where to go.

Thanks for making me feel depressed  ;D
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Journeyman on September 25, 2013, 15:38:00
Quote
I finally convinced my father to speak with someone....
Thanks for making me feel depressed  ;D
D&B, you'll just have to accept that most of us have/had fathers    >:D
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: s2184 on September 25, 2013, 15:55:21
Apride58, I am totally in a different situation, but used to face similar difficulties that you are having.

I never consumed a single tablet which my doctor had asked me to prescribe if I wanted it. All the drugs have serious side-affects and the best option that worked (work) for me was (is) healthy life style such as:

Meditation & Various exercises in a regular-basis..
Healthy diet: Lots of vegetables, fruits, fibre rich food, fish & minimum meat and lots of fluid consumption..
No smoking, No Drugs, No alcohol consumption..
Enjoy (or try to enjoy) every single day..
and top of all I Accepted the hard truth that I have to die one day!

This life is a process.  Life changes are inevitable. The only way for survival (in my view) is believe in myself!

Believe in yourself and good wishes!  :salute:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on September 25, 2013, 16:53:49
Thanks for taking the time to answer. Appreciate all input. S2184, I dont take drugs, and dont smoke. I love my beer though, and refuse to give it up. lol. I do not abuse alcohol though. I try to exercise regularlly and stay in pretty good shape for my age. The depression and anxiety still hit. Sometimes, i can go for a couple of months sometimes just a couple of weeks. I think of my family and that helps keep me going. The worst thing is no being able to leave the house. I havent worked for about 6 yrs now. Anyway, maybe talking will help some. After all, you only had to worry about your soldiers when they stop bitching, eh? lol.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: PuckChaser on September 25, 2013, 16:54:37
Thanks for making me feel depressed  ;D

OSISS can help?  8)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on September 25, 2013, 16:56:56
What is OSISS?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GR66 on September 25, 2013, 17:19:19
What is OSISS?

OSISS is "Operational Stress Injury Social Support".  It's a peer support network for those suffering from OSI's.  An excellent resource.  They also have family peer support groups available.

http://www.osiss.ca/


(edited for typo)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on September 25, 2013, 17:49:40
Thank you. Looks like a site that I will look into.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: caocao on September 25, 2013, 18:44:31
What is OSISS?

http://www.osiss.ca/en/index.html
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Cbbmtt on September 26, 2013, 12:54:13
Hello,

I'm sorry that you are not feeling well lately.

Regards Prescriptions, what province are you in? There's programs in most provinces that help with prescriptions after you reach a certain deductible. Once you pay a certain amount the government will help you as long as the prescriptions are covered through this program. If they are not and there are no alternative medication through Pharmacare, your Doctor can request special authorization to have it covered.

http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/pharmacare/plans/

Maybe that can help you a bit.

All the best in the future.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on September 26, 2013, 16:55:22
Thank you very much for your answer. I am. Receiving many helpful pointers and is greatly appreciated. I am in Ontario. Med insurance was paying to a certain point. I had to shell out, then claim and get some back. But the meds were hundreds per month. On a Sgts pension from 15 yrs ago, just didnt cut it meeting all bills and then meds on top. As I stated, the meds never seemed to work properly anyway and some even made things worse. So with all of that, just stopped it all. Like many people, some good days and some bad. Anyway, thanks again, and good luck with your enrolment. Cant beat a military career. After all these years, I still miss it terribly. Al.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on December 05, 2013, 11:05:37
Quote
For every suicide in the Canadian Forces, at least one attempt was recorded: documents
Amy Minsky 
Global News
04 Dec 2013

OTTAWA — For every suicide reported in the Canadian Forces last year, there was at least one attempted suicide, protected National Defence documents reveal, adding to a morbid tale unfolding after four men in the Forces apparently took their own lives in recent days.

The actual number of suicide attempts, however, likely reaches far higher than the documents suggest, only hinting at the problem at hand, said Col. Rakesh Jetly, a military psychiatrist.

The military fills out a detailed form each time one of its current members commits suicide, attempts suicide or when it becomes aware of someone suspected to have attempted suicide.

The Canadian Armed Forces collects information on sudden deaths, including suicides, but only among males, since the low incident rate among females makes the data statistically unreliable, according to National Defence.

Last year, 10 men in the Forces committed suicide, according to National Defence.

The newly-released documents, heavily redacted to protect personal information, detail at least 11 attempts at suicide throughout 2012, as well as the 10 suicide cases.

The documents, released under Access to Information laws, do not offer much insight into the cases other than noting that military police responded to some incidents, or that a victim was transported in an ambulance with a police escort, or anticipating the potential level of media interest.

The chain of command in the Forces doesn’t always become aware of a member’s attempted suicide, Jetly said.

“It’s very difficult to capture attempts,” he said. “They get captured if police and ambulance are involved, but there may be some people who quietly try to overdose from sleeping pills and alcohol, wake up the next morning and feel terrible about it. And we might not necessarily capture that.”

For that reason, the actual number of attempted suicides among the Canadian Forces is unknown, Jetly said.

“It’s definitely higher [than 11]. But how much—two times? Three times? Ten times? We don’t know,” he said. “There are always many more attempts than completions.”

Advocates for veterans have said that for every suicide in the Forces, as many as 12 have attempted the same fate.

When the chain of command becomes aware of an attempted suicide within the Force, the Number One priority becomes getting that person into care, according to Jetly.

But even if someone is getting help, they aren’t necessarily immune from the threat of suicide.

... (More at link)
http://globalnews.ca/news/1009779/soldier-suicide-one-attempt-for-every-death/


Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on December 05, 2013, 13:10:44
Quote
“It’s very difficult to capture attempts,” he said. “They get captured if police and ambulance are involved, but there may be some people who quietly try to overdose from sleeping pills and alcohol, wake up the next morning and feel terrible about it. And we might not necessarily capture that.”

At Toronto EMS, the estimate ( where Paramedics got involved ) was that for every suicide death there were 25 attempts.

That does not include the "Check Patient" ( no lights - no siren ) calls we were sent to where no attempt was actually made, but the patient was considered to be "at risk".





Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on December 09, 2013, 01:12:54
Some US numbers:

"The most recent department of defense suicide report, or DODSER, covers 2011 . It shows that less than half, 47%, of all suicides involved service members who had ever been in Iraq or Afghanistan. Just one in 10 of those who died did so while posted in the war zone. Only 15% had ever experienced direct combat."


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/feb/01/us-military-suicide-epidemic-veteran


Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on December 09, 2013, 02:11:45
Thank you very much for your answer. I am. Receiving many helpful pointers and is greatly appreciated. I am in Ontario. Med insurance was paying to a certain point. I had to shell out, then claim and get some back. But the meds were hundreds per month. On a Sgts pension from 15 yrs ago, just didnt cut it meeting all bills and then meds on top. As I stated, the meds never seemed to work properly anyway and some even made things worse. So with all of that, just stopped it all. Like many people, some good days and some bad. Anyway, thanks again, and good luck with your enrolment. Cant beat a military career. After all these years, I still miss it terribly. Al.

I have a friend going through this write now and all I can offer is that it took him a year to find the right combination that works the best for him.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: apride58 on December 26, 2013, 16:06:18
I have a friend going through this write now and all I can offer is that it took him a year to find the right combination that works the best for him.



I do hope that your friend has found the combination that works for him. All of these probs and solutions are affected and affecting so many in such different ways. Sure is no "magic pill" for all of us. Man, wish I could invent it. lol.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on January 10, 2014, 06:24:44
Quote
Recent suicide points to crisis in Canadian military, say veterans advocates
Heather Loney 
Global News
09 Januarny 2014

TORONTO –The recent death of a retired Canadian Forces member once again has veterans advocates pointing to a mental health crisis in Canada’s military.

Retired Cpl. Leona MacEachern, a 20-year veteran with the Canadian Armed Forces, died on Christmas Day in a head-on collision west of Calgary.

Initially, reports indicated MacEachern’s death was an accident, however the veteran’s husband said that MacEachern died by suicide, calling her death an “intentional final desperate act” of his 51-year-old wife.

In a written statement, Leona’s husband Tom MacEachern said his wife intentionally drove her car over the centre line, hitting a transport truck that was travelling southbound. She was pronounced dead on the scene.

MacEachern said Leona was being treated for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and was released from a treatment facility for Christmas.

The federal government stressed on Thursday that “great efforts” are being made to provide support for members of the Canadian military “going through difficult times.”

“Canadians can trust that the Armed Forces take the issue of member suicide very seriously,” said Rob Nicholson, minister of national defence, in a statement.

But for some veterans and advocacy groups, not enough is being done to address mental illness in the military.

MacEachern said the extent of his wife’s treatment for PTSD was “to see a psychologist for 45 minutes a week to ‘assist in reaching your goal of symptom management’.”

“We would like to say that Leona had slipped through the cracks in the system but, in fact, there does not seem to be ‘a system’,” the statement continued.

It’s a statement that one Canadian veteran agrees with. “There is no system,” said Steve Critchley, a 28-year veteran of the Canadian Forces.

“Between the Department of National Defence, Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, they all go in their own separate directions, they are not working together, and the basic game plan appears to be how fast can they dump people off on provincial health care systems,” said Critchley.

In the past few months, six Canadian soldiers have died by suicide.

Veterans advocates say that these suicides only hint at the magnitude of the problem.

MacEachern said he believes his wife’s PTSD symptoms manifested after “protracted battles” with Veterans Affairs over medical benefits.

He said Leona also experienced difficulty readjusting to civilian life, having spent most of her adult life in the Armed Forces.

“She felt there was no hope as no-one seemed to be addressing the root causes of her condition,” he said.

In December, Jerry Kovacs of Canadian Veterans Advocacy told Global News the recent soldier suicides are “a wake-up call to the government.”

“We’re hoping it’s an aberration… That no more Canadian soldiers will take this route,” he said. “We’re just hoping that these tragic events serve as a wake-up call to the government to say, ‘Listen, we can’t talk about this anymore, we really have to take action to make sure no [more] Canadian soldiers injure themselves.’”

The Department of National Defence (DND) has defended its record of supporting veterans, saying it has set up support systems for military members and their families.

James Bezan, the parliamentary secretary to Nicholson, said the department has “compartmentalized” $50 million a year just for dealing with mental health.

NDP MP and Veterans’ Affairs critic Peter Stoffer, said the federal government needs to do more to assist veterans suffering from PTSD.

“You need to put more financial and human resources within DND and [the Department of Veterans' Affairs] in order to assist the members of the military, and the RCMP, and their families when it comes to post traumatic stress disorder and operational stress injuries,” said Stoffer.

Last month, officials including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Chief of National Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson, expressed concern over the recent deaths, urging anyone struggling with mental health issues to get help.

“The loss of any soldier is painful and heartbreaking to our men, women and families,” said Lawson in a video posted to the Canadian Forces website.

“We have an expert health care system to support us, but in order for us to help each other it’s essential that all military personnel – like all Canadians – recognize mental health issues as they develop,” said Lawson.

“Although suicide is a national public health concern, for an organization like ours – built on leadership, built on camaraderie and built on strength – it hits us especially hard,” said Lawson.

Documents obtained by Global News show that for every suicide reported in the Canadian Forces in 2012, there was at least one attempted suicide reported.

But the actual number of suicide attempts could be far higher, since the military only files out a report when a current male member dies by suicide, attempts suicide or when it is suspected someone attempted to take their own life.

“It’s very difficult to capture attempts,” said said Col. Rakesh Jetly, a military psychiatrist. “They get captured if police and ambulance are involved, but there may be some people who quietly try to overdose from sleeping pills and alcohol, wake up the next morning and feel terrible about it. And we might not necessarily capture that.”

So, the actual number of attempted suicides is unknown, said Jetly.
http://globalnews.ca/news/1071914/recent-suicide-points-to-crisis-in-canadian-military-say-veterans-advocates/

I do not mean to minimize any of the suicides that have occured in the CAF, but I think the label "crisis" is over the top.

All the statistics that I have ever seen suggest the suicide rate in the military is lower than the general population.  Maybe that has changed or is changing, but there is no statistically significant evidence to show this.

What we have is a cognitive bias of vividess or availability.  The media is doing focused reporting of military suicides.  That makes people aware of more military suicides, and leads to the assumption that military vets are more inclined to suicide.
The availability bias is often linked with emotionally charged examples/observations.

Is there more that we can and should be doing to help service members and veterans at risk?  Yes.
But let's not over sensationalize the issue along the way.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Rider Pride on January 10, 2014, 08:53:17
I agree. And that media reporting it as a crisis does not help. But media likes labels.

Also, referring to the Cpl. MacEcheren suicide, there must be a defined separation between true PTSD and all the other types of mental illness in the media so that this issue can be defined better.

Not all mental illness is PTSD, but all PTSD is mental illness. The CAF is doing a good job identifying and treating PTSD, but it is the rest of the mental illnesses that is providing more of a challenge.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on February 15, 2014, 00:46:42
I have had my own worries that the recent rash of suicides and subsequent attention may be de-stigmatizing the act.  We need to talk about the problem and address any systemic factors.  But, with the current media attention and politicization, my concern is that we are creating a situation where an individual (already at their bottom and considering suicide as a means to end problems) starts to see suicide as a final, powerful political statement.
Quote
Outcry over military suicides may actually have ‘brought a slight honour to the act,’ Canada’s defence chief says
Lee Berthiaume, National Post
14 February 2014

Canada’s defence chief says the public attention and outrage that has erupted over military suicides may be contributing to the problem by having “brought a slight honour to the act of suicide.”
 
The Canadian Forces has been rocked by nine suicides since November which some veterans advocates and opposition critics have held up as proof soldiers aren’t receiving the support and assistance they need.

In a discussion at the Centre for International Governance Innovation in Waterloo, Ont., on Thursday night, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson described the suicides as “very troubling.”
 
But while Lawson said removing the stigma around mental health problems and injuries is essential, “actually stigmatizing the act of suicide is probably a very good thing in our society.”
 
“And our experts are very concerned about the fact that in a way, as Canadians and as leaders, we’ve put our arms around those who are suffering from mental health, [but] that we may have brought a slight honour to the act of suicide.
 
“So we’re very concerned about, as we rally around our troops, what we may be doing to this impression of suicide.”
 
The comment has prompted mixed reaction from mental health experts and those who work with Canadian military personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental injuries.

Ian Colman, Canada research chair in mental health epidemiology at the University of Ottawa, said society needs to be careful when talking about suicide.
 
“There is compelling evidence that suicide contagion exists,” he said. “That is, one person’s suicide, or the reaction to that person’s suicide, may lead to an increased likelihood that somebody else will consider suicide themselves.”
 
That is why media outlets generally do not report suicides.
 
Colman said there are instances when discussing suicide is in the public interest as it is a leading cause of death, and is shocking to families and communities.

“It is important for us to talk about suicide because prevention is impossible if we don’t talk about it,” he said. “But we need to talk about suicide in a responsible way. I think every conversation about suicide should focus on the help that is available for people who are struggling with their mental health.”
 
Tim Laidler, executive director of the Veterans Transition Network, which helps Canadian Forces personnel transition into civilian life, said there is a legitimate need to discuss why military members are killing themselves and what more can be done to help.
 
There is also a need for more information about the issue, he said, as the government has no handle on how many veterans or reservists have committed suicide.
 
“But there has been a lot of politicization of the issue, and that’s when I think it starts to get a little bit dodgy,” Laidler said. “When people try to use the soldiers to have a political advantage, or to say the government isn’t doing enough, and trying to ramp up the anger.”
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/02/14/public-outcry-over-military-suicides-may-actually-have-brought-a-slight-honour-to-the-act-canadas-defence-chief-says/
And also found here: http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Defence+chief+worries+public+reaction+military+suicides/9510313/story.html
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Journeyman on February 15, 2014, 00:54:47
That is why media outlets generally do not report suicides.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Defence+chief+worries+public+reaction+military+suicides/9510313/story.html
Ri-iiight -- unless it's military......then they have a fuking field day with it.   >:(
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on February 17, 2014, 01:23:16
I’m posting this article a second time as it may be the first article that gets the message right and without politicizing it.  Certainly, it is an important counter-point to much of the media sensationalism that has recently fed this thread.
Quote
Canadian Forces: Holding the line on mental health
Lewis MacKenzie
The Globe and Mail
14 February 2014

The unfortunate cluster of suicides by Canadian Forces personnel, serving and retired, bracketing the recent Christmas break, understandably drew a good deal of media attention – almost all of it negative. Much of the discussion focused on the lack of military support for the victims, on inappropriate compulsory release procedures and on the stigma associated with mental illness.

When it is noted that the suicide rate in the Canadian Forces has been consistent over the past decade, and even a bit lower this past year, it sounds terribly clinical. We are talking about people, not numbers, and one suicide is one too many. However, with a bit of context, numbers can be telling.

While an objective of zero suicides is admirable, it ignores that suicide is the second-leading cause of death in the Canadian male population between the ages of 15 and 34, and that the suicide rate for Canadian males is highest between the ages of 40 and 59, according to Statistics Canada. Those two categories comprehensively cover the age distribution of the Canadian Forces personnel.

Now, consider that the suicide rate in the U.S. military has doubled over the same 10-year period. Considering the dramatic increase in the pace of operations for Canadian Forces personnel over the past 10 years, surely it follows that suicides should have risen dramatically. But they didn’t. Could that be suggesting that the Forces’ mental-health strategy and treatments are actually working? Probably.

With regard to stigma, it’s interesting to note the difference in attitude between the military and civilian communities. Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health has found that just 49 per cent of the general population would socialize with a friend who had a serious mental illness. By contrast, just 6 per cent of military personnel returning from Afghanistan indicated that they would think less of someone receiving mental health care, according to the Armed Forces. Our soldiers may have something to teach us about tolerance and understanding.

Much has been made about compulsory release procedures, suggesting that injured personnel are dumped on the street by an uncaring military that insists on retaining only fit individuals capable of deploying on short notice. The reality is that there are currently more than 2,000 non-deployable personnel posted to the CAF’s Joint Personnel Support Unit. While there, they undergo evaluation and treatment according to their illness or disability. Most will have four years of preparation to transition to civilian life or to return to operational duty. Since 2009, about 1,300 personnel have done just that under the Return to Work program.

Unfortunately, there is a knee-jerk reaction when the words “Afghanistan” and “suicide” appear in the same sentence. The assumption is often that war-zone service has caused post-traumatic stress disorder and driven an individual to kill himself or herself. But the triggers are numerous, and war-zone exposure is not at the top of the list. Divorce, loss of a loved one and loss of a job are more likely factors.

According to the experts, the greatest hurdle to preventing suicide is getting the individual to recognize that they have a mental-health problem. Investigations have determined that that the vast majority of soldiers committing suicide were not receiving care. The mental illness went unidentified by fellow soldiers, leadership and medical professionals and the opportunity for treatment was missed. These results mirror similar findings in the civilian world

There are 26 specialty medical health clinics and seven operational stress support centres across the country. Are they short of staff? Yes. Is shortage of funds the problem? No. There is much competition for mental-health experts (Canada is third in the world for the consumption of anti-depression drugs) and by its nature the military is parked in some pretty isolated areas. That unattractive geography combined with the unreasonable time taken to work a hiring through the red tape within Public Works puts the military at a distinct disadvantage in the competition.

Unfortunately, no program dedicated to eliminating suicide will attain perfection. More must be done, but the fact that our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and both the Canadian and American Psychiatric Associations have complimented our military’s mental-health program should be reassuring, in contrast to the innuendo so prevalent in some media.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/canadian-forces-holding-the-line-on-mental-health/article16892831/

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on April 09, 2014, 15:15:03
So, while we have numbers to show that the military had a statistically lower rate of suicides, we also had numbers to show that the military had a statistically higher rate of depression. Interesting.
Quote
Depression in soldiers a ‘huge concern,’ says military MD
There have been eight suspected suicides in the Canadian Forces since the beginning of the year but it’s unclear whether they represent a sustained pattern, says the military’s surgeon general
Murray Brewster
Toronto Star
08 April 2014

OTTAWA—There have been eight suspected suicides in the Canadian Armed Forces since the beginning of the year but it’s unclear whether they represent a sustained pattern, says the military’s surgeon general.

Testifying before the all-party House of Commons defence committee on Tuesday, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier noted separately that depression, especially among male Forces members, is double that of the civilian population and represents a “major concern.”

Roughly 7.8 per cent of the military reported episodes of depression prior to the Afghan war, but the numbers are being updated, he added. Medical professionals draw a direct link between instances of depression and suicide.

Much of the public attention in the aftermath of the Afghan war has been focused on post-traumatic stress, which counts depression among its constellation of symptoms.

The military often underscores the resources it has poured into PTSD treatment and research and is quick to say its rate of suicide is below the national average. But underlining that is the extraordinarily high overall amount of depression.

“We haven’t been able to pin it down specific exposures in military life,” said Bernier. “Although, there are all kinds of increased risk factors for depression because of military service.”
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/04/08/depression_in_soldiers_a_huge_concern_says_military_md.html

A longer article in Maclean's (http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/depression-a-huge-concern-says-military-surgeon-general/) suggests that even with the late 2013 spike, suicide numbers were below average.  It was also suggested that "suicide contagion" may have been flamed through the extensive media attention, and that this contributed to the size/duration of the spike.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Rider Pride on April 09, 2014, 15:59:11

Not all mental illness is PTSD, but all PTSD is mental illness. The CAF is doing a good job identifying and treating PTSD, but it is the rest of the mental illnesses that is providing more of a challenge.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on April 09, 2014, 16:33:39
So, while we have numbers to show that the military had a statistically lower rate of suicides, we also had numbers to show that the military had a statistically higher rate of depression. Interesting. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/04/08/depression_in_soldiers_a_huge_concern_says_military_md.html

A longer article in Maclean's (http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/depression-a-huge-concern-says-military-surgeon-general/) suggests that even with the late 2013 spike, suicide numbers were below average.  It was also suggested that "suicide contagion" may have been flamed through the extensive media attention, and that this contributed to the size/duration of the spike.

That jives with what we've been getting anecdotally through SUTC. I'd contend that the 'big four' (in no particular order, and generally with some or often considerable degree of comorbidity) are PTSD, Depression, Anxiety (in its many forms, but often generalized or social), and Substance Abuse Disorder. The media has been focused inappropriately on just PTSD, and this is something I've brought up with several of the reporters who've spoken to me about this stuff. I *think* the message is starting to get out.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on April 14, 2014, 15:17:21
Meanwhile, the British believe they have found a link between longer tours (9 month vs 6 month) and increased risk of mental injury.  They found another increased risk link in reservists.  Some are also suggesting that the UK does a better job supporting its personnel as it had a fewer suicides than the CAF last year.
Quote
More Canadian than British soldiers took own lives in 2013
Some experts say the British military is providing better mental health services to its soldiers

Caroline Brown, CBC News
14 April 2014

Suicide rates among Canadian soldiers are far higher than those in Britain, according to newly released statistics by the U.K. Ministry of Defence.

In 2013, five suicides were reported in the British regular forces compared with 13 for their Canadian counterparts, in a force one third the size. There have also been five others in Canada so far this year.

One possible explanation for the discrepancy is that "at this point in time, the Brits are providing better service" for their veterans, says Michael Blais, co-founder of Canadian Veterans Advocacy, a non-profit group focused on improving the lives of veterans.

Another may be the way the two countries deployed their troops in Afghanistan.

British troops may be more resilient to the aftereffects of combat because they had shorter deployments than those in the Canadian regular forces, said Nicole Meszaros, a senior public affairs officer for the Canadian Forces.

According to a study by King’s Centre for Military Health Research at King’s College, London, prolonged combat missions in Afghanistan are behind the most significant mental health burdens facing British soldiers, but these problems can vary in important ways.

Neil Greenberg, an academic psychiatrist at King's College and the senior author on the study, said regular and elite forces suffer higher rates of alcohol and post-deployment aggression than they do post-traumatic stress disorder, which has a correlation to suicide.

"We found high rates of PTSD and risk of suicide in those who are on deployments longer than six months. We also found reservist combat troops are also at higher risk," he said.

Britain's defence ministry reports that military suicide rates have been declining since the 1990s, at least partly it seems because of government efforts.

In recent years, for example, the British military introduced the Enhanced Mental Health Assessment (EMHA) program to help ensure mental health issues are identified at an early stage in a soldier's career.

"This program has helped ensure that primary care and mental health practitioners across the country are now able to facilitate early diagnosis of mental health issues and ensure all personnel at risk are provided with the most appropriate treatment," says Lizzy Jackson, a defence ministry spokesperson.

“Canadians don’t have a peer support program like EMHA, they have the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program, but that only helps to get troops back into their units as quickly as possible,” said Greenberg, who has also looked at Canadian Forces data.

In 2012, the Canadian government announced that it would increase funding for soldiers' mental health to $50 million annually. Still, Blais says the government isn't doing enough.

"The outreach in Canada is beginning, but we have men and women who can't get in to see a psychiatrist for five months. This could end in catastrophe if we don't provide the treatment in an expedient and effective manner," he says.

Part of the problem in Canada may be a kind of stigma that soldiers face.

Canadian veteran Chris Dupee served in Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009 before joining the Joint Personnel Support Unit, the Canadian Forces' mental health unit. He said he saw a trend among his fellow soldiers who were afraid to come forward to the military with their mental health issues because of the strong stigma attached to it.

"I denied that I had PTSD. I didn’t get help. The warrior culture in the military is you are supposed to be tough, to soldier on.

"And it wasn’t until about a year after deployment in Afghanistan that I put myself through the system to get help," he said.

Dupee said Canada does have a lot of resources and programs for treatment, but most soldiers don’t feel they can come forward or even realize they may have a problem.

"Anytime a soldier commits suicide in Canada it always hits close to home, and I wanted to make an example of myself by breaking the silence. So I started Military Minds as a way to connect soldiers together and to the resources available to them," Dupee says.

Military Minds was originally created to offer employment for soldiers who were ending their term of service, but is now one of the largest organizations in the world raising awareness of the stigma around PTSD.

“I look at the British as more sophisticated in the way they handle mental health issues. In Canada there is no organization that wholeheartedly just wants to help the troops," Dupee says. "There's money and power and political manoeuvres; in the meantime they are forgetting about the soldiers. It's a miracle Military Minds is still standing."

British veterans Cpl. David Soppitt and Sgt. Mark James Turnbull both served in Afghanistan. Both were medically discharged, and both are suffering from extreme PTSD resulting from combat in Afghanistan.

"It's like being in a black room with a demon that you are fighting constantly, but since I began seeing my psychologist a few months ago I feel like I will be able to live a normal life," Cpl. Soppitt said.

Sgt.Turnbull has attempted suicide several times, and now takes a cocktail of anti-psychotic medication. It helps him get through the day and raise his five-year-old daughter. He is an extreme case and has to fight everyday to want to live.

Although the system in the U.K. is well funded, it’s only when you are out of the military that you get access to an abundance of resources, says Soppitt.

Dupee, from Military Minds, is also on medication and said that in Canada this is often the first line of treatment. 

Jennifer Wild, a clinical psychologist at Oxford University, treats British soldiers who are suffering from PTSD says that is the wrong approach. "Medication is not recommended — there is no good medication for PTSD. A pill does nothing for their PTSD symptoms [so] there are few instances where I would go to medication first."

In her practice Wild uses cognitive behavioural therapy, which is proven to work on PTSD. Most of the treatment happens outside of the office, where she is able to find reminders and triggers for patients in order to help them work through the traumatic memory itself.

"Solders may feel ashamed or excessively guilty about an action they took or didn’t take, and may be judging themselves on superhuman standards," Wild said.

The soldiers she has treated have certainly felt stigmatized by the military, she says. But treatment has helped them become better equipped to deal with their mental health issues.

"As a veteran you have all the help you could ever need, but while you are in the military you're meant to be tough and to soldier on," Soppitt said.

When you come out and say you have mental health issues, you know your military days are over, both he and Dupee say.

Dupee said when a soldier is medically discharged in Canada they are given a lump sum payment, a payment that’s woefully inadequate.

He said, often it’s $100 000 for these young guys who are mentally unstable.

"That's going up their nose, down their throat, into a vehicle, that money's gone in a year. Now he's screwed, he's not capable of work because his mental health won't allow it.

"If someone were to trip and fall in Wal-Mart, they'd get paid a hell of a lot more than a soldier who’s given his mental health or a limb for his country. It's messed up," Dupee said.

Dupee and his colleagues have identified three major problems in the Canadian system: employment services for soldiers just coming out of the army; the division between the government and charitable organizations in regards to power and money, and the lump sum payment.

Both Canadian and British soldiers returning from Afghanistan go through a mandatory decompression stage in Cyprus. Here they talk about mental health issues before returning home. Both Dupee and Soppitt, while from different countries and different missions, said that in their experience this decompression does nothing.

"You just want to get home, nobody cares to listen to what they have to say, it’s just about getting through the checklist of items to make sure they have done their due diligence," Dupee said.

Peer-to-peer support is the key to solving these problems in Canada, he suggests. It’s not about the message, it’s about who the message is coming from.

"There is something to be said about a friend who has been through the same experiences as you, bouncing your thoughts and emotions off that person rather than a psychiatrist," Dupee says.

Even though the Canadian mission in Afghanistan has ended, the war on mental health continues for thousands of soldiers. The British forces’ mission in Afghanistan is expected to end in December.

"It remains to be seen what the longer-term psychological impact of serving in Afghanistan will be, and what social and health-care services might be required for this small, but important group of veterans who are at the highest risk of mental health problems," Greenberg said.

Statistics Canada is scheduled to release the most comprehensive study on mental health ever conducted on the Canadian Forces in November.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/more-canadian-than-british-soldiers-took-own-lives-in-2013-1.2604078
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on April 14, 2014, 15:33:48
Meanwhile, the British believe they have found a link between longer tours (9 month vs 6 month) and increased risk of mental injury.  They found another increased risk link in reservists.  Some are also suggesting that the UK does a better job supporting its personnel as it had a fewer suicides than the CAF last year.http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/more-canadian-than-british-soldiers-took-own-lives-in-2013-1.2604078

I'd be cautious about trying to do an 'apples to apples' comparison with other countries regarding a subject like this.

For example, there are huge cultural differences between the UK and Canada that are likely impossible to measure, but could be very influential, related to how well people manage through things like PTSD.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Strike on April 14, 2014, 15:45:59
Exactly.  Statements like this really mean nothing unless one compares the suicide rates within both militaries to their respective civilian populations.  If the rates are the same then it means both countries are getting the same results in treatments and education.  If it were to turn out that, lets say, the UK had a lower civilian suicide rate than Canada, one would have to surmise that the CAF mental health plan was better than that of the UK military.  Vice-versa if the opposite were shown to be true.

So these stats being thrown around in the article mean nothing without a baseline to compare them to.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Journeyman on April 14, 2014, 22:08:29
It appears that not one of the Canadians whose opinions are quoted in the article have actually read the British study. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: medicineman on April 14, 2014, 22:14:34
It appears that not one of the Canadians whose opinions are quoted in the article have actually read the British study. 

You seem almost surprised by this  ::)

MM
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Journeyman on April 14, 2014, 22:25:13
You seem almost surprised by this  ::)
I actually deleted my follow-on comments before I hit send.
 

I thought you'd be proud of me....    ;D
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on April 16, 2014, 11:33:17
Quote
Neil Greenberg, an academic psychiatrist at King's College and the senior author on the study, said BLAH BLAH BLAH WON WONK WON

“Canadians don’t have a peer support program like EMHA, they have the Operational Stress Injury Social Support program, but that only helps to get troops back into their units as quickly as possible,” said Greenberg, who has also looked at Canadian Forces data.

OSISS is Peers support, and you are confusing what the IPSC is with OSISS when you say " it helps troops get back to their units as quickly as possible".  The Senior Author of the study, and he can not get a key point of his own argument correct????  Sweet heart of Jesus and his Blessed Mother get your acronyms right!!!!

I shall retire to Bedhlam, with the rest of the sane.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: medicineman on April 16, 2014, 14:31:15
OSISS is Peers support, and you are confusing what the IPSC is with OSISS when you say " it helps troops get back to their units as quickly as possible".  The Senior Author of the study, and he can not get a key point of his own argument correct????  Sweet heart of Jesus and his Blessed Mother get your acronyms right!!!!

Tess,

See my previous statement above.

Kind of reminds me of going to a drug pusher lunch or conference - you really have to sort through the BS in the presentations and the "studies" to make sure everything is above board, what's real, what's manipulated and what is a really crappy used car. 

MM
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on July 06, 2014, 13:41:25
More new statistics that raise questions as opposed to answer them.
Quote
Internal DND analysis paints refined picture of military suicide crisis
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press
CTV News
06 Jul 2014

OTTAWA -- Post-traumatic stress is thought to have played a role in only three of ten suicides in the Canadian military last winter, and the majority of soldiers who took lives were not in danger of being kicked out.

The information is contained in a brief statistical summary obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information legislation.

Senior brass cobbled it together as they tried to wrap their heads around what was causing a spate of deaths between November 2013 and February 2014, and the data paints a counter-intuitive portrait of the crisis.

Public perception has been that the suicides were a direct result of the Afghan war, when in fact only five of the 10 had served in the war-torn country -- and the majority of those for one tour.

Military medical officials cautioned reading too much into the summary, saying little can be "concluded about suicide trends," but the information is consistent with what investigators and health officials have uncovered.

Maj. Nicole Meszaros said it's "incredibly difficult to predict who will take their lives."

The figures show the bulk of the soldiers, although being under care for various conditions, were being retained in the military "without restriction" and no significant career changes were on the horizon.

Seventy per cent of them did not have a known history of suicide attempts.

In terms of a social profile, seven of the 10 were divorced or separated. The majority came from the army and only a handful had any legal or disciplinary issues within the past two years.

"It is not unique to the (Canadian Armed Forces) or uncommon in Canadian society to have somebody externally appear and report to be doing well and responding well to treatment, tragically suddenly take their life," Meszaros said in an email.

The military's deputy surgeon general, Col. Colin MacKay, in a Feb. 21, 2014 email obtained under access to information, told the chief of military personnel, Maj.-Gen. David Millar, that the analysis represents a "shallow dive" into the issue and more study would be needed.

The suicide crisis last winter gripped the attention of the nation and prompted National Defence to begin filling long-vacant positions within the mental health branch, as well as to make several public appeals for troops suffering with mental illness to come forward.

The suicide analysis, along with figures released last week by Statistics Canada and comments last spring by the military's top doctor, suggest the root causes of the tragedies may run deeper.

The 2013 Health and Well-Being of Canadian Armed Forces Veterans found regular force veterans upon leaving the military rated their health more poorly than the general population.

It found their sense of community belonging was lower and they were "less often satisfied with life than most Canadians."

The study said almost a quarter of those leaving the military reported both physical and mental disorders.

Testifying before the all-party House of Commons defence committee last spring, the military's surgeon-general, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier, said that depression, especially among male Forces members, is double that of the civilian population.

It represents a "major concern," he said.

Roughly 7.8 per cent of the military reported episodes of depression.

But that snapshot was taken prior to the Afghan war and Meszaros said Friday those numbers are being updated.

Medical professionals draw a direct link between instances of depression and suicide.

Understanding the extraordinarily high overall amount of depression is something the military is struggling [to do.]
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/internal-dnd-analysis-paints-refined-picture-of-military-suicide-crisis-1.1901193#
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: fake penguin on July 07, 2014, 00:34:19
More new statistics that raise questions as opposed to answer them.http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/internal-dnd-analysis-paints-refined-picture-of-military-suicide-crisis-1.1901193#

Ok the article says only 5 in 10 served in Afghanistan. What about the guys that served in Bosnia or anywhere else for that matter.They saw things too. So out of the 5 that did not go to Afghanistan, did they serve somewhere else and be affected by thier expierence?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: PuckChaser on July 07, 2014, 00:54:07
Thats why they said they've just started a shallow dive into finding the root causes. They very well could have been Bosnian vets, or Rwanda, or Somalia. There was probably a lot about the social profiles that may have been blacked out on ATI, as the service records would be Protected A.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on November 10, 2015, 15:39:49
Bumped with the latest (http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs-health/report-on-suicide-mortality-caf-2015.page) - a summary from the Surgeon General's latest report (highlights mine):
Quote
The Directorate of Force Health Protection (DFHP) regularly conducts analyses to examine suicide rates and the relationship between suicide and deployment. This report is an update covering the period from 1995 to 2014 .... This report describes crude suicide rates from 1995 to 2014, comparisons between the Canadian population and the CAF using standardized mortality ratios (SMRs), and suicide rates by deployment history using SMRs and direct standardization. It also examines variation in suicide rate by Command and, using data from the Medical Professional Technical Suicide Reviews (MPTSR), looks at the prevalence of other suicide risk factors in suicides which occurred in 2014 ....  Suicide rates in the CAF did not significantly increase over time, and after age standardization, they were not statistically higher than those in the Canadian population.  However, small numbers have limited the ability to detect statistical significance. In contrast to previous results, history of deployment may be emerging as a risk factor for suicide in the CAF. The increased risk in Regular Force males under Army Command compared to Regular Force males under non-Army Command is another new finding.  Deployment-related trauma (especially that related to the mission in Afghanistan) and resulting mental disorders are plausible mechanisms for these associations.  However, residual confounding may also be at play (e.g., by disproportionate risk of childhood trauma or other lifetime trauma in Army personnel or those who deploy).  Further research with other data sources will be needed to explore these hypotheses in depth.
Statement from the Defence Minister (https://www.facebook.com/vassykapelosglobal/posts/936795253080239) ....
Quote
“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.”
.... and from the CDS (http://news.gc.ca/web/article-en.do?mthd=index&crtr.page=1&nid=1020119):
Quote
“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.”
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Simian Turner on November 11, 2015, 11:42:15
I think you need to digest the conclusions. IMHO, there is adequate care available.  Getting people into care in a timely manner and finding them a constructive (rather than destructive) manner to serve while undergoing treatment is the crux of the problem.  Emphasis below is mine.

"It is far more probable that the changing trends are caused by two other larger forces at play:

1. here is strong evidence that the CAF mission in Afghanistan has had a powerful impact on the mental health of an important minority of personnel who deployed in support of it. Clear differences in the prevalence of mental disorders among personnel who deployed in support of that mission and other personnel have also been demonstrated.  The clear conceptual and empirical links between deployment-related trauma, mental disorders, and suicidality make these trends in patterns of Regular Force male suicidal behaviour in the CAF understandable.
2.  Second, the CAF’s retention practices for personnel with mental disorders have evolved.  Personnel who have recovered fully from mental disorders may continue to serve provided that they meet Universality of Service standards. For those who do not recover completely, time to release is now more prolonged than in the past.

We must reiterate here that suicide is a multifactorial event that is explained by more than deployment alone; consequently, disproportionate focus on selected factors runs counter to the CAF’s public health approach to suicide prevention. Focusing only on deployment, PTSD or any of the other risk factors discussed in this report is an ineffective approach to suicide prevention.

4.2  Conclusions

The following conclusions are reached with the understanding that statistical analysis may not identify a true difference due to the small total number of suicides, i.e. the power of the study is low: 

1. From 1995 to 2014 there has been no statistically significant change in the overall CAF Regular Force male suicide rates.
2. The rate of suicide when standardized for age and sex is not statistically significantly different from that of the general Canadian population.
3. Direct standardization suggests that a history of deployment is now emerging as a risk factor for Regular Force male suicide in the Canadian Armed Forces since 2010, confounding by other factors may be responsible for this finding.
4. High prevalence of mood disorders, spousal/intimate partner breakdown and/or of career-related proceedings may be indicators of heightened suicide risk in CAF Regular Force males.
5.  Analyses suggest that there is a significantly higher crude rate of Regular Force male suicide in the Army Command relative to other CAF Commands. This may be in part driven by the significant difference in the crude Regular Force male suicide rate for the Combat Arms Trades relative to the non-Combat Arms suicide rate.
6.  With more than 20 years of Regular Force data, advanced statistical approaches will need to be explored in future analyses to better and more accurately describe the suicide experience in the CAF."
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: GAP on November 11, 2015, 11:58:05
Do people here really think that this latest generation of soldiers is any less able than previous generations....?

Do people here really think that there were not suicides after previous conflicts, that there was not PTSD or it's equivalent ?

The only thing I can see differently is that the organization is trying to help and the generous amount of publicity, wanted or not, that has gone along with it.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on November 12, 2015, 09:43:18
Meanwhile, while I agree with the general sentiment, I forsee this  :worms: from the following (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/veteran-affairs-minister-vows-to-honour-soldiers-who-died-by-suicide/article27223943/) - highlights mine:
Quote
Canada’s new Veterans Affairs Minister is vowing to find a way to commemorate the 59 soldiers who served in Afghanistan and later took their own lives.

“They are part of our military family,” Kent Hehr said in an interview. “A veteran is a veteran is a veteran.”

The minister made the comments on Remembrance Day, when thousands gathered at the National War Memorial in Ottawa under grey skies to pay their respects to those Canadians who fought for their country, including the many who gave their lives in the process.

Mr. Hehr said he will consult former soldiers on how to proceed. “All of the proud soldiers who have served our country honourably ought to be recognized for their service and their sacrifice, including recognition of those who may have taken their own life,” he said. “I will engage with veterans in the months ahead and, together, we will explore ways to better recognize all those who have fallen.” ....
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Jarnhamar on November 12, 2015, 13:18:58
I would like to see all CF members who succumbed to suicide commemorated. Singling out those with service in Afghanistan, which may or may not have been a contributing factor, seems short sighted.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on November 12, 2015, 15:46:22
Getting people into care in a timely manner ... is the crux of the problem. 
One barrier against this, from some of my observations, has been LDA.  We give guys hundreds of dollars a month not to go to the field but to be in a unit designated as a field unit.  There is a financial disincentive to admitting the posibility of an injury because the free money might end.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kratz on November 12, 2015, 19:17:07
One barrier against this, from some of my observations, has been LDA.  We give guys hundreds of dollars a month not to go to the field but to be in a unit designated as a field unit.  There is a financial disincentive to admitting the posibility of an injury because the free money might end.

Careful with those "good idea fairies".  LDA was adjusted, to be brought into line with SDA, as some thought it 'unfair' sailors traveling with their home, kitchen, shower ect....were getting more than the army. If someone now makes the argument that soldiers should lose LDA, those fairies these days, could easily leap and say no SDA for sailors either. The two elements have different challenges and issues of retention, we need to be cautious when applying a one size fits all to these ideas. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on November 12, 2015, 19:43:53
Careful with those "good idea fairies".  LDA was adjusted, to be brought into line with SDA, as some thought it 'unfair' sailors traveling with their home, kitchen, shower ect....were getting more than the army. If someone now makes the argument that soldiers should lose LDA, those fairies these days, could easily leap and say no SDA for sailors either. The two elements have different challenges and issues of retention, we need to be cautious when applying a one size fits all to these ideas. 
So, why should guys who manage to hold onto sea billets yet never leave shore get the extra pay while other guys get tossed between ships to make-up shortfalls ... and why should those guys doing extra time at sea not be making even more?  Super-sized casual allowances better compensate what they are intended to compensate, and super-sized casual allowances  don't act as free monthly money that is disincentive to self-identify injuries.

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kratz on November 12, 2015, 19:49:05
Casual allowances are not cumulative. Therefore there is no ability to rise to the next incentive level for SDA.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 12, 2015, 20:34:12
So, why should guys who manage to hold onto sea billets yet never leave shore get the extra pay while other guys get tossed between ships to make-up shortfalls ... and why should those guys doing extra time at sea not be making even more?  Super-sized casual allowances better compensate what they are intended to compensate, and super-sized casual allowances  don't act as free monthly money that is disincentive to self-identify injuries.
Just because you self-identify, as I did, it doesn't stop you from serving on board, deploying on ops or sailing with everyone else and getting your fair SDA, as I did.  Are there a few slugs out there? Sure, a very few.  I know there were some in the Brigades too who had NATO knees and the like when it came to going to the field.  They're everywhere to one degree or another.  Lastly, the reason certain trades are going from pillar to post to keep ships at sea has SFA to do with what you're talking about.  It's because there are retention issues in some trades and they're bleeding white for that reason, not the sick, lame and lazy trying to scam SDA.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on November 12, 2015, 23:34:20
Just because you self-identify, as I did, it doesn't stop you from serving on board, deploying on ops or sailing with everyone else ...
Yes, it is possible to self identify the  remain employable, go to sea/the field, and still earn an environmental allowance.  I am not disputing that.  I am neither raising concern over the malingerers.

The concern that I raise if over the service members who are legitimately injured but who hide and dodge treatment for fear that MELs or recovery will take them away from their environmental allowance.  I have seen this.  I have seen other cases where guys who need to be in JPSU for their recovery fight the process and grow bitter (getting worse) over the loss of an allowance that they really had not been earning over the preceding years.  We should not have a system that provides financial disincentive against seeking help.

The fact that we pay people an environmental allowance without care that they are actually earning that allowance or not ... well, that is just wasteful.  When that wasteful practice is also impeding care, then we should fix things.

Casual allowances are not cumulative. Therefore there is no ability to rise to the next incentive level for SDA.
So?  What is wrong with one level of allowance (something better than present casual rates) which fairly compensates all people equally for the same hardship?

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: kratz on November 12, 2015, 23:55:09
Now I see where to call Bu$$ crap.

Members are always responsible for their own financial affairs.

Why are Canadians on the hook for through VAC for those same  "hardship" members who won't seek medical help when it would actually help them when needed?

MCG (and ilk) are blaming the system for offering an incentive for work.

As a community, if someone says they want to hide an injury to ensure they get onto BMQ, what is our collective answer?

So...a few months later and members are now in units with SDA/LDA, we should change our response to hiding an injury?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on November 13, 2015, 00:04:32
Now I see where to call Bu$$ crap.

Members are always responsible for their own financial affairs.

Why are Canadians on the hook for through VAC for those same  "hardship" members who won't seek medical help when it would actually help them when needed?

MCG (and ilk) are blaming the system for offering an incentive for work.

As a community, if someone says they want to hide an injury to ensure they get onto BMQ, what is our collective answer?

So...a few months later and members are now in units with SDA/LDA, we should change our response to hiding an injury?

Reservists get nothing, and some still do not self-identify. The money is one thing, but there are other barriers too IMHO.

Also, AFAIK, 'they' are not 'counting' reservist suicides either, although I am open to being corrected on that point.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on November 13, 2015, 00:24:34
MCG (and ilk) are blaming the system for offering an incentive for work.
It is no incentive for work.  It is incentive to hold onto a spot in the establishment.  It is a reward for a posting message.  An incentive to work would pay for when you do the work. 

I see you are about being entitled to your entitlements.  I think when money is paid for doing something, it should go to those people who do that something.  If it makes you feel better, one could still design a super-casual allowance that that gives credit for past earning.  Then you can still make more than the next guy when you go to sea.

Is loss of environmental allowances the only barrier to seeking help?  No.
That does not mean we should not fix that barrier.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 13, 2015, 06:50:41
I think there is still some of the stigma attached with having a mental illness in some quarters, or at the very least a perception by some that there is and/or should be a stigma attached.  That is the real barrier such as it remains that really needs to be fully torn down.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on November 13, 2015, 07:47:57
I think there is still some of the stigma attached with having a mental illness in some quarters, or at the very least a perception by some that there is and/or should be a stigma attached.  That is the real barrier such as it remains that really needs to be fully torn down.
My guess is that if this is still true in civvy street (and it is), it's probably getting better in the CF because of recent education efforts, but can't be close to zero yet, given how "get 'er done" military folks as a group tend to be.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 13, 2015, 07:55:27
My guess is that if this is still true in civvy street (and it is), it's probably getting better in the CF because of recent education efforts, but can't be close to zero yet, given how "get 'er done" military folks as a group tend to be.

I believe things are indeed much better today than they were even a few years ago for both the CF and the population at large when it comes to dealing with mental illness.  I don't know if that wall will ever be fully torn down, but I hope so.

There was an intersting story I heard of this week on how Canadian scientists have been able to successfully breach the blood/brain barrier.  They believe this will be "the breakthrough" which will enable much better treatment for things like depression etc.  Here's hoping between education and things like this that people who are suffering can find relief.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on November 13, 2015, 10:15:12
Reservists get nothing, and some still do not self-identify. The money is one thing, but there are other barriers too IMHO.

Also, AFAIK, 'they' are not 'counting' reservist suicides either, although I am open to being corrected on that point.

Reserve suicides, although difficult, have been accounted for through the years.

http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-reports-pubs-health/report-on-suicide-mortality-caf-2015.page

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on November 15, 2015, 13:05:53
For what it is worth to the discussion,

"It has reported that in 2015, across Canada, there have been 30 first responder suicides and eight Canadian Forces suicides to date. In 2014, from April 29 to December 31, there were 27 first responder deaths by suicide, and 19 Canadian Forces suicides in 2014."
http://www.tema.ca/#!home/c1gd9"

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 15, 2015, 21:41:41
Too, too many, regardless of the members origin of service.  RIP.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: milnews.ca on January 25, 2016, 18:08:43
Via La Presse (https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,117743.msg1413690.html#msg1413690) (original in French) - Google translation below:
Quote
Suicide accounts for a third of deaths in the Canadian Armed Forces for five years, according to data obtained by La Presse. A proportion much higher than the Canadian standard, but that the Defence invites interpreted with caution.

This proportion third of military deaths caused by suicide greatly exceeds the 1.6% that seen in the rest of the Canadian population. It is also three times higher than the percentage of 10% among Canadian men aged 20 to 59 years in 2011, according to Statistics Canada. This subgroup is more representative of the military population, where men make up nearly 85% of the Regular Force.

"Not normal"

"It is a problem. I do not think it's normal that suicides are the third of deaths. They talk, they say it does not make sense, but we do not see action. At least, I do not see them and I do not hear, "says Marie-Josée Huard, President of the Association of Canadian military spouses. His spouse, who served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, suffers itself from post-traumatic stress and has considered suicide, but was "lucky to get help," she said. According to her, support outside the military bases should be part of the solution.

The cream of the cream

In the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), we urged caution when comparing these statistics with those of the general population. The military are generally younger and healthier, says Dr. Elizabeth Rolland-Harris, an epidemiologist with the CAF. They have, for example, less likely to succumb to disease. "It's still the best of the best," she said. In 2011, the death rate among Canadian men aged 20 to 59 years was 226 deaths per 100,000 people, while, year after year, it ranges between 45 and 70 (per 100,000) in forces ...
More in the original link.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: recceguy on January 25, 2016, 18:57:27
Did they take Reservists into account this time? Or is it just the Regs again?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: MCG on February 09, 2016, 03:03:28
A new study has found a link between suicide and having suffered a concussion, and an even steeper link for multiple concussions.  I think this is something that the military needs to investigate to determine if a similar correlation exists with current and former service members.

http://news.nationalpost.com/health/concussions-raise-long-term-suicide-risk-three-to-fourfold-says-new-canadian-study
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: cdnwo on November 04, 2016, 17:10:14
In a released article today by the Globe & Mail, it was revealed that at least 70 serving members and veterans from the Afghanistan mission had committed suicide as a result of lack of support when returning.

Why has there never been discussions regarding success linked from service in Bosnia? Swiss Air crash? There were hundreds of military members who were exposed to disaster as well?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/remembering-31-canadian-afghanistan-war-veterans-lost-to-suicide/article32657290/?campaign_id=A100
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 05, 2017, 10:40:26
Reported Canadian suicides per 100,000 people.

Includes CAF,
https://infogr.am/copy_reported_canadian_first_responder_suicides

You can click each year from 2017 ( year to date ) to 2014.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 05, 2017, 17:16:56
Reported Canadian suicides per 100,000 people.

Includes CAF,
https://infogr.am/copy_reported_canadian_first_responder_suicides

You can click each year from 2017 ( year to date ) to 2014.

That data is of ery dubious quality unfortunately due to the sampling. Also note that it doesn't reliably capture the suicides of released members of any of those organizations. That data simply does not exist for CAF veterans on an ongoing basis, though there was a decent study (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-584-x/82-584-x2011001-eng.htm) that captured data from 1972-2006 including the suicide statistics for CAF veterans deceased up to that point. It did find a very significantly higher likelihood of suicide among released reg force military males (about 50% higher, which epidemiologically is huge). We have no good data on released veteran suicide since 2006, and no good suicide data at all on reservists or women.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 05, 2017, 17:22:30
That data is of ery dubious quality unfortunately due to the sampling.

Just posted for what it is worth to the discussion, as it includes CAF.

I am not affiliated with the source,

Tema Conter
https://www.tema.ca/
"We Are Canada's Leading Provider of Peer Support, Family Assistance, & Training for our Public Safety & Military Personnel Dealing with Mental Health Injuries"

Paramedics: 33,500 (Paramedic Chiefs of Canada 2015)
Firefighters: 110,000 (International Association of Firefighters 2015)
Police Officers: 68,693 (Statistics Canada 2014)
Military: 95,000 (Department of National Defence 2015)
Canadian Males (All Ages): 16,917,300 (Statistics Canada 2012)
Canadian Females (All Ages): 17,191,500 (Statistics Canada 2012)
Gender Specific Suicide Statistics (Statistics Canada 2012)

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: recceguy on March 05, 2017, 17:57:08
That data is of ery dubious quality unfortunately due to the sampling. Also note that it doesn't reliably capture the suicides of released members of any of those organizations. That data simply does not exist for CAF veterans on an ongoing basis, though there was a decent study (http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-584-x/82-584-x2011001-eng.htm) that captured data from 1972-2006 including the suicide statistics for CAF veterans deceased up to that point. It did find a very significantly higher likelihood of suicide among released reg force military males (about 50% higher, which epidemiologically is huge). We have no good data on released veteran suicide since 2006, and no good suicide data at all on reservists or women.

 They don't track Reservists' suicide unless it happens while employed with the Regs. Then it's a Reg force suicide.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on March 05, 2017, 18:03:13
The main reason for the lack of tracking is the lack of Identification.

Once a member leaves the Canadian military, there is no consistant standard to identify the person as a Veteran.  No ID card, nothing.  Therefore, it is not the people capturing the numbers, but the problem lies with the Government not taking an active measure to make ALL Retired members identifiable.

Until then, we will NEVER get accurate numbers on Suicides of retired members.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 05, 2017, 18:15:02
The main reason for the lack of tracking is the lack of Identification.

Once a member leaves the Canadian military, there is no consistant standard to identify the person as a Veteran.  No ID card, nothing.  Therefore, it is not the people capturing the numbers, but the problem lies with the Government not taking an active measure to make ALL Retired members identifiable.

Until then, we will NEVER get accurate numbers on Suicides of retired members.

dileas

tess

Yup, that's a big component of it. The workaround on this is for any coroner-determined completed suicide in Canada to be run by name and date of birth against CAF service records. That will get a statistically reliable solution to tracking veteran suicide, and should be pretty straightforward. VAC promised in October 216 that by December 2017 veteran suicides would be tracked, and the issue has been further reinforced in Parliamentary committee.

Mariomike- Yup, I'm familiar with Tema. They do good work, though I don't know what justifies their claim to be "Canada's leading provider of ... etc" for military veterans. They grew out of the Paramedic community and expanded to all emergency services, but really haven't made any inroads into the military community that I can see.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on March 05, 2017, 18:34:27
Yup, that's a big component of it. The workaround on this is for any coroner-determined completed suicide in Canada to be run by name and date of birth against CAF service records. That will get a statistically reliable solution to tracking veteran suicide, and should be pretty straightforward. VAC promised in October 216 that by December 2017 veteran suicides would be tracked, and the issue has been further reinforced in Parliamentary committee.

Mariomike- Yup, I'm familiar with Tema. They do good work, though I don't know what justifies their claim to be "Canada's leading provider of ... etc" for military veterans. They grew out of the Paramedic community and expanded to all emergency services, but really haven't made any inroads into the military community that I can see.

That could be done by the coroner, very good point. However (And being one, you can correct me) does the first responder not begin the process of Identification?  If so, that will be better to flag the coroner to check the database.  Otherwise said coroner would have to do the search for everyone that came in. Not a viable solution considering the volume of deaths some of them have to process. 

As for TEMA, Stephane Grenier and Vince Savoia worked in the beginning of both OSISS and TEMA, together to come up with the Peer support concept for Paramedics.  TEMA has helped many Military Veterans where OSISS could not, and Vice Versa in the early days of both organizations.  Vince is a very good friend of mine, and I can get anyone in touch with him if you all would like more information or history on TEMA.

dileas

tess
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 05, 2017, 18:44:42
Vince is a very good friend of mine, and I can get anyone in touch with him if you all would like more information or history on TEMA.

I worked a shift or two ( or more? ) on the cars with Vince when my permanent partner was off. He was a pleasure to work with.
I wouldn't hesitate to contact or recommend him.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 05, 2017, 18:46:49
That could be done by the coroner, very good point. However (And being one, you can correct me) does the first responder not begin the process of Identification?  If so, that will be better to flag the coroner to check the database.  Otherwise said coroner would have to do the search for everyone that came in. Not a viable solution considering the volume of deaths some of them have to process. 

As for TEMA, Stephane Grenier and Vince Savoia worked in the beginning of both OSISS and TEMA, together to come up with the Peer support concept for Paramedics.  TEMA has helped many Military Veterans where OSISS could not, and Vice Versa in the early days of both organizations.  Vince is a very good friend of mine, and I can get anyone in touch with him if you all would like more information or history on TEMA.

dileas

tess

Any suicide will have both police and coroner attending. Police will typically identify the deceased if it's not very obvious. The coroner will make a ruling on cause of death, and the coroner is responsible for preparing the certificate of death. The certificate of death will include personal identifiers and a cause of death under the ICD-10 system, which includes deliberate self harm. The death certificate data is held provincially. They'll compile statistics on cause, age, sex, etc and fire it up higher to Statistics Canada for the national mortality database, but when they do that it doesn't include name or date of birth. So the relatively straightforward step here is for the provincial coroners to send up the name/DOB of every suicide up to be run against a database of anyone who's ever had a service number. That could easily be automated. I think that's how VAC is going to do it if they make their December commitment; it's certainly the course of action I and others have suggested.

Thanks for the info regarding Tema, Tess- I know they're southern Ontario based, so their military related efforts may have been more concentrated down there. I didn't realize Stephane Grenier was involved with them, but that's excellent if so. I met Vince when he came up to Whitehorse and did a presentation, I really, really like what they do, I just haven't seen much involvement with the CAF. But me not seeing it doesn't mean it's not there. They've definitely been working a lot on the education side, and I'm actually currently enrolled in a program that they helped design for first responder mental health work. If they did expand more into the military community, that could be a really good thing.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: the 48th regulator on March 05, 2017, 18:52:59
Any suicide will have both police and coroner attending. Police will typically identify the deceased if it's not very obvious. The coroner will make a ruling on cause of death, and the coroner is responsible for preparing the certificate of death. The certificate of death will include personal identifiers and a cause of death under the ICD-10 system, which includes deliberate self harm. The death certificate data is held provincially. They'll compile statistics on cause, age, sex, etc and fire it up higher to Statistics Canada for the national mortality database, but when they do that it doesn't include name or date of birth. So the relatively straightforward step here is for the provincial coroners to send up the name/DOB of every suicide up to be run against a database of anyone who's ever had a service number. That could easily be automated. I think that's how VAC is going to do it if they make their December commitment; it's certainly the course of action I and others have suggested.

Thanks for the info regarding Tema, Tess- I know they're southern Ontario based, so their military related efforts may have been more concentrated down there. I didn't realize Stephane Grenier was involved with them, but that's excellent if so. I met Vince when he came up to Whitehorse and did a presentation, I really, really like what they do, I just haven't seen much involvement with the CAF. But me not seeing it doesn't mean it's not there. They've definitely been working a lot on the education side, and I'm actually currently enrolled in a program that they helped design for first responder mental health work. If they did expand more into the military community, that could be a really good thing.

I think you can attest to it, VAC and the Governement are making steps towards addressing Suicide in our community.  And I know othing is going to happen overnight.  Anything to make the jobs of the good people on the frontline easier, is what I am for.  Thanks for the run through of the actual steps, as you can imagine I have no clue, just a layman's idea.

Vince is good people.  Just pure in his efforts.  Yeah, when I first started with OSISS was when I was introduced by Stephane to Vince as I am the GTA Rep.  We got along and over the years just did so much together. 

dileas

tess

Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 05, 2017, 19:43:18
I think you can attest to it, VAC and the Governement are making steps towards addressing Suicide in our community.  And I know othing is going to happen overnight.  Anything to make the jobs of the good people on the frontline easier, is what I am for.  Thanks for the run through of the actual steps, as you can imagine I have no clue, just a layman's idea.

Vince is good people.  Just pure in his efforts.  Yeah, when I first started with OSISS was when I was introduced by Stephane to Vince as I am the GTA Rep.  We got along and over the years just did so much together. 

dileas

tess

I wish I could feel more comfortable attesting to that, but no, I cannot yet because I don't really see it being the case. There's some slow movement happening in a couple Parliamentary committees (ACVA and SECU) for veterans and first responders respectively. VAC and DND have both pledged a suicide prevention strategy, but as of yet I have seen no forward movement, and I have a semi-insider view on that. I have seen little tangible increase in resources intended to prevent or address mental health injuries.

I hold on to a few hopes:
- That budget 2017 will have some serious forward movement, including concrete steps on the suicide prevention strategy, concrete steps on establishing a veteran specific residential mental health treatment facility, and concrete steps on getting the veteran suicide data.
- That we will see more training offered to families and informal peer support networks. There is a little bit of this starting to happen with VAC sponsored Mental Health First Aid - Veterans courses, but the capacity rolled out so far is pathetic.

The Liberals have basically burned any benefit of the doubt they had at this point in this regard. They have had more than a year to move forward on something. The stakeholder summits and advisory groups are great and all that, and have had some impact in some other aspects (90% ELB came directly out of that), but on mental health and suicide prevention, nothing tangible yet. We understand that budget 2016 was too fast after the election for most of the big issues, but this should be the one to start moving. Anything starting later than this coming fiscal will be too slow to avoid being caught up in pre-2019-election BS. I for one am adopting a cautious wait and see approach on this. If they simply keep their mandate promises, I'll be quite happy with that. That'st he measuring post they established for themselves and it's a good one. Now they need to stick to it.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on March 05, 2017, 22:28:32
A few points.

1.  Female suicides.  Because the numbers are small, they are often not analysed in annual reports, because (a) the numbers are not statistically significant and (b) the numbers are so small that any discussion would likely identify the individuals.  The Surgeon General does track them, but reporting generally is not done to avoid identifying individuals.

2.  Reservists.  If a Reserve unit reports an individual, they will be recorded and reported.  If units report deaths without identifying them as suicides, they will not be reported.  In overall statistics, an individual will be reported against the component they belonged to when they died - there will be no mixing just because someone was serving with another component at the time of their death.

3.  Veterans.  As previously noted, there is not a common method for identifying and reporting veterans suicides. I know that the Surgeon General and his staff have this as a major area of concern, and spend significant time with both VAC and Statistics Canada looking for methods to better track this information.  The challenge is in respecting individual privacy while tracking data; how much information are people willing to provide once they have released?  If you are a former CAF member, how much do you want VAC and/or the CAF to track you?
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 05, 2017, 22:39:03
A few points.

1.  Female suicides.  Because the numbers are small, they are often not analysed in annual reports, because (a) the numbers are not statistically significant and (b) the numbers are so small that any discussion would likely identify the individuals.  The Surgeon General does track them, but reporting generally is not done to avoid identifying individuals.

2.  Reservists.  If a Reserve unit reports an individual, they will be recorded and reported.  If units report deaths without identifying them as suicides, they will not be reported.  In overall statistics, an individual will be reported against the component they belonged to when they died - there will be no mixing just because someone was serving with another component at the time of their death.

3.  Veterans.  As previously noted, there is not a common method for identifying and reporting veterans suicides. I know that the Surgeon General and his staff have this as a major area of concern, and spend significant time with both VAC and Statistics Canada looking for methods to better track this information.  The challenge is in respecting individual privacy while tracking data; how much information are people willing to provide once they have released?  If you are a former CAF member, how much do you want VAC and/or the CAF to track you?

1 and 2 - yup and yup, though I would contend that if a serving reservist dies, part of the administrative followup should be getting a death registration that includes cause of death in case it's pertinent.

3- The issue is being worked, yes. I laid out above a pretty straightforward way for it to get collated, and I believe this was the approach used in the 2011 Canadian Forces Cancer and Mortality Study. I don't have info on the mechanics of that study and how it was actually 'done', but they did track every enrolled CAF member between '72 and '06, and tracked all suicide deaths up until December 31st 2006. So we have data basically right up to the start of Kandahar. That data showed an almost 50% higher rate of suicide for released male veterans. That's huge, and is probably worse now.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Staff Weenie on March 06, 2017, 09:53:17
There are also deaths which could possibly be suicides, but are not recorded as such. Coroners have differing policies across the country on what it takes to rule a death as a suicide. I am aware of at least one case where a mbr most probably deliberately ended their life. Because there was no prior suicidal ideation, nor a note, the Coroner ruled it as undetermined. There are some 'snap decision' suicides where there is little to no warning, and no note. I am not sure how frequent these are, nor how many of the deaths of CAF mbrs fall into this category. But, they would represent additional numbers that are not counted.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 06, 2017, 10:29:27
There are also deaths which could possibly be suicides, but are not recorded as such.

There could be a suicide clause, or a belief that there is, in the life insurance policy. So make it look accidental.
Maybe they don't want family, friends, employer, neighbours, church etc. to feel shame. Or don't want to be remembered as a suicide.  Religious or cultural beliefs about suicide. How many overdoses, head-on collisions, jump or fall in front of a subway or off a roof, drownings, carbon monoxide, self-inflicted gunshot wound, etc. are accidental or intentional? How many were on sudden impulse? How many relatives have hidden or destroyed suicide notes before calling it in?

Being ruled an accidental death rather than suicide may be preferred for various reasons.

That could apply to the general population.
 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Simian Turner on March 07, 2017, 01:43:04
Keep in mind that (as of Dec 2016) the average CAF member joins at age 23 and retires after 14 years service at age 37, and only approx. 20% of retirees register with VAC.  Therefore, tracking retired personnel is a difficult task and relating their future issues back to time in uniform is an even larger one.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 07, 2017, 09:15:21
Keep in mind that (as of Dec 2016) the average CAF member joins at age 23 and retires after 14 years service at age 37, and only approx. 20% of retirees register with VAC. 

Retiring after 14 years ( full-time in the pension plan? ) may lead to financial fears, depending on pension arrangements and individual debts.

From what I have read on here, the Legion does not seem to be as important in the lives of retired CAF members as it perhaps once was.

It may provide some camaraderie, but can never equal the strong feeling of “family” wearing a uniform provides.

From what I understand - not an SME - one of the most vulnerable times for many workers is the period nearing retirement and the first year or two after.

Does the CAF recognize the tremendous impact retirement has on an individual?















Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on March 07, 2017, 10:55:47
Does the CAF recognize the tremendous impact retirement has on an individual?

By that you mean how happy retirement makes most of them? I doubt it :)
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Brihard on March 07, 2017, 11:39:41
Keep in mind that (as of Dec 2016) the average CAF member joins at age 23 and retires after 14 years service at age 37, and only approx. 20% of retirees register with VAC.  Therefore, tracking retired personnel is a difficult task and relating their future issues back to time in uniform is an even larger one.

I'll throw further confusion into this one. The quoted 'average' of 14 years in this case is, I suspect, a 'mean'- which sets me up for being a great pun about 'meaningless'. What would be much more useful would be a chart of how many people release at different years of service. I bet you'd ses a very large cohort getting out between the 4-6 year mark; those who serve a VIE and then pop smoke, carry on with a civvie career and don't look back. Not actually a retirement; rather troops who serve a brief time while young then move on with life. On the other end you have a sizeable cohort who do 25-35 years+ and get out; the true career soldiers/retirees. There will be some in the middle too off course, those who do 12 or 15 or 18 years and then have a good civilian opportunity come up, or alternatively who medically release. I suspect though that this group is smaller than either end of the curve, so the 'average' time before release here is deceptive.

There are also deaths which could possibly be suicides, but are not recorded as such. Coroners have differing policies across the country on what it takes to rule a death as a suicide. I am aware of at least one case where a mbr most probably deliberately ended their life. Because there was no prior suicidal ideation, nor a note, the Coroner ruled it as undetermined. There are some 'snap decision' suicides where there is little to no warning, and no note. I am not sure how frequent these are, nor how many of the deaths of CAF mbrs fall into this category. But, they would represent additional numbers that are not counted.

Absolutely. Single vehicle/single occupant MVCs, deliberate overdoses... What would be broadly called 'death by misadventure'. There are definitely suicide written off as drunk driving deaths and accidental overdose. Very hard to get figures for that though.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Oldgateboatdriver on March 07, 2017, 11:58:19
Retiring after 14 years ( full-time in the pension plan? ) may lead to financial fears, depending on pension arrangements and individual debts.
...
Does the CAF recognize the tremendous impact retirement has on an individual?

Ah! mario!, mario!, mario!

I wish people would understand statistics better. the average CAF career of 14 years does not mean that a majority of members serve for 14 years and then "retire" on an insufficient pension (actually I would think few do, because I have a hard time thinking of a combination of usual terms of service that would give you that number).

It's an average. And we usually have terms of service that start with a relatively short period, wether the 5  or 7 years officers from the ROTP or specialist university programs (medical, dentistry etc.) have to give back or the first, short, term given to NCM at the beginning of their career to see if they like it. A fairly important portion of these members do not re-enlist after that original service and go on with their civilian career at a reasonably young age, bringing the average down. The others that go on then are given a long term contract, and the large majority of them stay in for an amount of time that is sufficient to generate a reasonable pension.

I am sure there are some that fall in the middle - longer service but not long enough to generate a reasonable pension to live on - but I suspect that is a fairly small number, and most of them are still young enough to find other civilian employment in the meantime. You know, mario, the very large majority of people retiring from the CAF are still quite capable of working after they retire  ;).
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 07, 2017, 12:23:37
You know, mario, the very large majority of people retiring from the CAF are still quite capable of working after they retire  ;).

How many, would you say, stay in for the whole ride? ie: The 70 per cent pension.



Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Oldgateboatdriver on March 07, 2017, 12:55:13
Dapaterson is the number whiz, but I would venture a guess that, of those members that re-sign after their original short duration term, about 80% go the whole pension route.

This is based on the anecdotal fact that I kept bumping in the same people all the time throughout my 35 years in  :).

Others may feel free to chime in, and people with actual data can also chime in.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: dapaterson on March 07, 2017, 13:49:05
When I last looked in detail at such numbers, Reg F attrition spikes were at the end of first or second contracts, and at pension points (20 or 25 years).

But 14 YOS as an average for release sounds right, given an annual attrition rate of 7% (+ or -).
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: mariomike on March 07, 2017, 14:19:13
When I last looked in detail at such numbers, Reg F attrition spikes were at the end of first or second contracts, and at pension points (20 or 25 years).

But 14 YOS as an average for release sounds right, given an annual attrition rate of 7% (+ or -).

If not receiving a 70% pension, which is considered the benchmark for working Canadians, unless already well off financially, the retired member will likely need / desire to start a second career.

Which may, or may not, be as satisfying as the rank / position they held when they retired from the CAF.
Especially if promises made by potential employers before retirement go unfulfilled.


Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: George Wallace on March 07, 2017, 14:49:32
If not receiving a 70% pension, which is considered the benchmark for working Canadians, unless already well off financially, the retired member will likely need to start a second career.

Which may, or may not, be as satisfying as their original. Especially if promises made by potential employers before retirement go unfulfilled.

The vast number of persons Releasing from the military after their first or second "Engagement" would still be in their Twenties.  They would only have received Severance Pay (Prior to the termination of that practice).  The numbers who now serve 25 years for a pension are small in in comparison; and those who serve the full 32+ years for the 70% pension are even fewer. 

Not making this a MATH GENIUS Thread, I would guestimate that the numbers who Release with less than 10 years of Service will make up well over 60% of all who have enrolled in CAF.  Most of those will have no pension, or a pittance of one, and still be under 30 years of age; well within the category of being able of having a Second Career.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: C17 Tech on March 11, 2017, 12:36:54
The memo below was written for a subordinate that was having mental health difficulties. He was being bullied by the chain of command who tried charging him by summary trial. The subordinate confided in me that he was going to kill himself. This occurred one week after another unit member killed himself (unit pilots made him feel personally responsible for doing damage to the stabilizer struts to one of their precious, new shiny C17 Globemasters)

 Anyone in the CAF that feels that there is no way out can submit this memo through their chain of command. Do not kill yourself. Yes, there are ways to bully the bullies. I have heard that this memo is making its rounds around the country and overseas too. Use it. Seek help. Your CO can put you in touch with medical experts that can fix what ails you.
 When you use this memo, explicitly request a posting to the JPSU while you are on TCAT. I cannot emphasize this enough. This decision is solely at the CO's discretion.



UNCLASSIFIED

Memorandum

405 (PERS)

17 Apr 1982

Commanding Officer (thru Chain of Command)

COMMUNICATION WITH THE CO

A82695405 CPL I.M. BLOGGINS

QR&O Chapter 19.12

1.   As a national institution, the CAF must recognize and uphold the constitutional right of all Canadians to Freedom of Association and all CAF members may exercise their individual rights to join an association of their choice provided that relevant orders and instructions are respected. Further to this, all CAF members have ‘unimpeded access’ to their respective COs to discuss ‘any’ matter of a personal, private or confidential matter. Members may choose not to disclose these matters to their respective chain(s) of command owing to a lack of trust and respect in an institutional culture not currently aligned with its ethos.

2.   Personal information is defined at s. 3 of the Privacy Act. Personal information under the control of the CAF shall not, without the consent of the member to whom it relates, be used by the CAF except for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the CAF or for a use consistent with that purpose. COs have both a positive obligation under law, and an ethical duty to safeguard members’ personal information and protect it from those who do not possess a professional “need to know”. This is clearly outlined in Treasury Board policy WRT government security and privacy protection.

3.   Some officers and members tend to see the word ‘may’ in QR&O 19.12 and think that they have a choice or are excused from complying with this regulation. In this context ‘may’ is imperative and not permissive. This is my notice of intent that I ‘will be’ speaking with my CO. Respectfully expedite it to the extent that the exigencies of service permit.

4.   If not, consider this my formal notice of intent to lawfully release from Her Majesty’s Canadian Armed Forces. Because an ATI request may be initiated, please consider this an IRBV, file it IAW ADM (IM) guidelines, and store it in its appropriate PIB for retrieval at a later date. Disposal action shall be IAW the Library and Archives of Canada Act.






IM Bloggins



QR&O 19.12 - COMMUNICATION WITH THE CO

An officer or non-commissioned member may, upon application, see the member's commanding officer on any personal matter. [C17 Tech Emphasis]
(M)  The “M” stands for Minister who reserves the right to stomp the guts out of commanding officers for not allowing privates and corporals to speak with their COs. Gut stomping goes through the CDS and the appropriate Environmental Chief. In other words, **** rolls downhill. No Colonel will be promoted to General without the Minister’s signature. Respect the dignity of all persons.

personal
Belonging to the person. This adjective is frequently employed in connection with substantives, things, goods, chattels, actions, right, duties, and the like as personal estate, put in opposition to real estate; personal actions, in contradistinction to real actions; personal rights are those which belong to the person; personal duties are those which are to be performed in person.  [C17 Tech emphasis]

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856

may
v. a choice to act or not, or a promise of a possibility, as distinguished from "shall" which makes it imperative. 2) in statutes, and sometimes in contracts, the word "may" must be read in context to determine if it means an act is optional or mandatory, for it may be an imperative. The same careful analysis must be made of the word "shall." Non lawyers tend to see the word" may" and think they have a choice or are excused from complying with some statutory provision or regulation. [C17 Tech emphasis]

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Eye In The Sky on March 11, 2017, 15:10:16
Maybe I am missing the context here or something but...if every junior rank in the CAF wants to get on the wrong side of the line when asking to speak to their CO, I'd say this is the way.  IMO it is written with hostility and, IMO, an inappropriate tone that is unnecessary to achieve the aim; speaking with your CO. So I'll say again...wtf, is this really the advice you'd give a Jnr rank NCM regardless of circumstances? 

The CofC pursuing charges isn't always bulling. 

As for the word *may*, the definition actually comes from the QR & O, not from you (or whoever originated the memo).

QR & O, Vol 1, Art 1.06 (http://www.forces.gc.ca/en/about-policies-standards-queens-regulations-orders-vol-01/ch-01.page#cha-001-06)

1.06 - "MAY", "SHALL" AND "SHOULD"

In QR&O

a."may" shall be construed as being permissive and "shall" as being imperative; and
b."should" shall be construed as being informative only.

(M)

I don't see your additions to Art 19.12 in the QR & Os re: gut stomping etc.  The memo was drafted in 1982, for a member who was a tech on a shiny new C17?  Am I missing something? 

Para's 3 and 4...wha?  End of the day, a mbr can submit any memo they want to, I can't stop them but I'd being recommending a number of changes to the content, and more so, the tone of this particular memo.  To quote my mom "it's not what you say, it's how you say it".  Something like that.

Overall...???
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: C17 Tech on March 11, 2017, 16:52:17
A military with 400 Commanding Officers is a military with 400 standards.

Surely you are not oblivious to the fact that the Canadian Armed Forces, at times, can operate notwithstanding its own policies and procedures. The memo is a template using the date that the Charter was enacted. I would also add that commanding officers often get very helpful legal advice from their respective DJA's; sadly they do not have to accept the legal advice from those finely trained folks at legal. IMO, any CO that does not follow the DJA advice is a genius in law or a proud fool.

The QR&O you quote on 'permissive and imperative' is exactly correct 99% of the time. The 'may' is contingent upon the 'application' only. The 'may' in this case does not give the CO a discretion on whether or not to allow or deny the the request.

Every QR&O must be read in its context and IAW statutory interpretation.

You may wish to read the CANFORGEN released in 2000 by GEN MAURICE BARIL "FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION" and another CANFORGEN released in 2015 by GEN TOM LAWSON (Delegated to COL MALO) regarding observations on HARASSMENT GRIEVANCES.

Also, I would like to respectfully remind you that this is a "SUICIDE" thread and not 'correct a memo' thread. I won't question your motives on your post, or attack you out of deference, however, my friend hung himself because pilots were making him feel (his words) that it was his fault that the aircraft was damaged. RIP Corporal Dan Barr 2009.

I am sure that as a CO, you would do the right thing, but your response would suggest otherwise.

The bullying is not occurring by the COs, it's occurring by the 10 people standing in the way of the member and their respective commander.

I suppose that you will interpret QR&O 19.09 as a statutory bar on a military member (PRIVATE CITIZEN) speaking with their MP or Senator.

And in closing, in your utopian military, we would not have a need for QR&O 19.15 either. Everyone in the CAF knows that reprisals, retaliation, repercussions and penalties aren't real. They must be phantoms of a suicidal Corporal's imagination.

The memo saved a soldier's life and I am damn proud of that fact!

FJAG, please chime in.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Eye In The Sky on March 11, 2017, 17:30:22
The problem I see in the memo is, it is addressed to the CO, directly the CO what he/she will do.  I also only see a message of "I will speak to you, or I will release".  That in and of itself can be seen as a cry for help;  it may also get other less desired reactions.

I know I'm not understanding the context, or circumstances.  I've dealt with suicidal soldiers, members with serious mental health concerns and other similar situations in the past.  I'm going to suggest if their mental health is that much of an immediate concern to me, I am going to either be escorting them to the Wing Hospital, alerting my immediate CofC, calling the MPs, or all of or a combination of the above.  *First aid first*.

In the situation you know about intimately, this may have been an appropriate COA.  I am saying it may not be in all cases.  I don't know about utopian militaries, I do know the issues with applying the same approach, tone and COA to all situations.  If you were very personally involved in a situation, like you said, it can be hard to be objective and think without bias about others, no?  I've found that with myself and conflicts I've had in the past that went to the highest level of the CAF for resolution and similar situations that I've become aware of since my own...challenging days.  Just a thought.

I'd be interested to know how those with experience at the Adjt, Div O, Sqn Exec, RSM/CPO etc level feel about the content/tone of the memo;  I'm just a SNCO afterall, and don't deal with this sort of stuff routinely.

Lastly...I've never ignored the needs of a soldier or airman/woman in need.  Sometimes that is balancing their needs, and the rules and regs of the institution we serve.  I also have seen, more than once, where a commander applies common sense and judgement in their decision making, considering both the needs of the member and ways of the CAF.  I try, at my level, to do that same. 
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: PuckChaser on March 12, 2017, 03:12:48
For a member needing a write a memo that is that terse and borderline insubordinate to get help, is a failure of leadership at so many levels it makes my head shake.
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: daftandbarmy on March 12, 2017, 03:59:56
For a member needing a write a memo that is that terse and borderline insubordinate to get help, is a failure of leadership at so many levels it makes my head shake.

Nailed it  :facepalm:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: C17 Tech on March 12, 2017, 08:19:27
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For a member needing a write a memo that is that terse and borderline insubordinate to get help, is a failure of leadership at so many levels it makes my head shake.

Failure in Leadership........You Bet, however, this memo is not chargeable under s. 85. Only under 129(2)(b) which requires the CoC to obtain legal advice from the DJA and is electable by Court Martial. And BTW, 129(2) has been found wanting by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. R. v. Korolyk, 2016 CM 1002


Insubordination requires an insubordinate intent. If the guy who submits it, never wrote it. Good luck securing a conviction. If it ever made it to court martial, There are 10 elements to the offence. Three are clearly missing. Directed verdict or no prima facie case. Stay of proceedings.

Humor>Prosecutor gets remustered to MARS and posted to Halifax.<Humor

103.18 - INSUBORDINATE BEHAVIOUR

(1) Section 85 of the National Defence Act provides:

"85. Every person who uses threatening or insulting language to, or behaves with contempt toward, a superior officer is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to dismissal with disgrace from Her Majesty's service or to less punishment."

Notes:

(D) Where a charge is for using threatening or insulting language, the particulars must state the expressions or their substance and the superior officer to whom they were addressed.

(E) In the case of threatening or insulting words, they must have been expressed to a superior officer and with an insubordinate intent, that is to say, they must be, either in themselves, or in the manner or circumstances in which they were spoken, insulting or disrespectful.

(G) Insubordinate language or conduct not falling within Notes (E) or (F) may only be charged under section 129 of the National Defence Act.

R. v. Korolyk, 2016 CM 1002

DECISION RESPECTING AN APPLICATION ASKING FOR THE DECLARA­TION THAT SUBSECTION 129(2) OF THE NATIONAL DEFENCE ACT IS CONTRARY TO SECTION 7 AND 11(d) OF THE CANADIAN CHARTER OF RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT:
 
[27]            FINDS that subsection 129(2) of the National Defence Act violates the presumption of innocence protected by section 11(d) and is not saved under section 1 of Charter.
 
[28]            DECLARES, under section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, that subsection 129(2) of the National Defence Act is void insofar as it makes an accused liable to be convicted despite the existence of a reasonable doubt on the essential element of prejudice to good order and discipline and because the presumption created in subsection 129(2) of the National Defence Act requires the trier of fact to convict in spite of a reasonable doubt.
-----------------------
DMP Policy Directive
Directive #: 003/00
Date: 1 March 2000
Updated:  17 May 2016
Subject: Post-Charge Review

Reasonable Prospect of Conviction

19. The threshold test of “reasonable prospect of conviction” is objective.  This standard is higher than a “prima facie” case that merely requires that there is evidence whereby a reasonable jury, properly instructed, could convict.  On the other hand, the standard does not require “a probability of conviction”, that is, a conclusion that a conviction is more likely than not.

20. A prosecution is not legally sustainable unless there is evidence to support the accusation that a person subject to the Code of Service Discipline has committed a service offence. In the assessment of the evidence, an actual and reasonable belief that the offence has been committed is necessary but not sufficient.  The evidence must be evaluated to determine how strong the case is likely to be when presented at court martial and should be made on the assumption that the trier of fact will act impartially and according to law. This will require a proper assessment on whether all of the elements of the alleged offence have been met, and may include the relevancy and admissibility of evidence implicating the accused, as well as the competence and objective credibility of witnesses.

21. Prosecutors are required to consider any defences that are plainly open to or have been indicated by the accused and any other factors that could affect the reasonable prospect of a conviction, for example, the existence of a potential Charter violation that may lead to the exclusion of evidence.

22. The role of the Prosecutor in assessing the reasonable prospect of conviction determination is quasi-judicial in nature. The assessment of the evidence requires a fair evaluation of evidence in all the circumstances of the case. Prosecutors must guard against a perception or view of the case simply adopted from the views or enthusiasm of others.  As a case develops and changes during the prosecution process the Prosecutor must guard and maintain the independence and integrity required to fairly reassess the case as it evolves.

23. In addition to the task of pressing a case vigorously and firmly, the Prosecutor must ensure that every prosecution is conducted fairly. A Prosecutor is not obliged to believe without reservation everything that he or she has been told by each prospective prosecution witness. As a matter of fairness, any reservation with respect to material evidence ought to be investigated and addressed in the context of measuring the reasonable prospect of conviction.

Public Interest Criteria

24. Once satisfied that there is a reasonable prospect of conviction to justify the continuation of a prosecution, the Prosecutor must then consider whether, in light of the provable facts and all surrounding circumstances, the public interest requires a prosecution to be pursued. It is not the case that all offences for which there is sufficient evidence must be prosecuted.

25. The criteria that may properly be taken into account when deciding whether the public interest requires a prosecution will vary from case to case. Generally, the more serious the offence, the more likely that public interest will require that a prosecution be pursued. The resources available for prosecution should not be used to pursue inappropriate cases, however the costs associated with the conduct of a court martial will never be the determining factor in deciding whether or not to proceed in a case.

26. Public interest criteria that may arise on the facts of a particular case include:

the effect on the maintenance of good order and discipline in the Canadian Forces, including the likely impact, if any, on military operations;
the seriousness or triviality of the alleged offence;
the views of the victim and any evident impact a decision to prefer a charge may have on him or her;
significant mitigating or aggravating circumstances;
the accused’s background and any extraordinary personal circumstances of the accused;
the degree of staleness of the alleged offence;
the accused’s alleged degree of responsibility for the offence;
the likely effect on public confidence in military discipline or the administration of military justice;
whether preferring a charge would be perceived as counter-productive, for example, by bringing the administration of justice into disrepute;
the availability and appropriateness of alternatives to preferring a charge;
the prevalence of the alleged offence in the unit or military community at large and the need for general and specific deterrence;
whether the consequences of preferring a charge would be disproportionately harsh or oppressive, especially considering how other persons implicated in the offence or previous similar cases have been or likely will be dealt with; and
whether the alleged offence is of considerable public concern.
27. The application of these factors set out above, other relevant factors, and the weight to be given to each will depend on the circumstances of each case.

28. When a referral authority makes an application for disposal to the DMP he or she will usually express his or her views on public interest based on input from the Commanding Officer of the accused. The Commanding Officer of the accused will normally be in the best position to determine how the unit’s disciplinary interests may best be served, and the referral authority will usually be in the best position to determine the broader interests of his or her command.  In the event that the accused and victim do not have the same Commanding Officer, the victim’s commanding officer should be consulted as well.

29. While the views of service authorities and the victim are to be considered by the Prosecutor, the ultimate decision to proceed with a prosecution is made by the Prosecutor. In the proper exercise of prosecutorial discretion, a Prosecutor may deem it necessary to dispose of a charge or charges in a manner inconsistent with the views of military authorities as expressed in accordance with QR&O article 109.03(2)(c) or 109.05(1).

30. Factors that should not be taken in account when determining whether to lay a charge include:

the rank of the accused;
reasoning which constitutes a prohibited ground of discrimination under section 3 of the Canadian Human Rights Act;
the Prosecutor’s personal feelings about the accused or the victim;
possible or perceived political advantage or disadvantage to the Canadian Forces, the Department of National Defence, the government or any political group or party;
the possible effect of the decision on the personal or professional circumstances of those responsible for the investigation or any other member of the Canadian Forces or the Department of National Defence


PS: All bolds, underlines and italics are the emphasis of C17 Tech
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: Eye In The Sky on March 12, 2017, 08:35:13
I think you've misinterpreting what a few of us are saying.  I was trying to think of a way to explain, but after a few attempts I've deleted what I've written;  I will only say that you don't always need to throw rocks to get the CO`s attention.  Sometimes throwing rocks, they can bounce back and hit the sender in the face.   :2c:
Title: Re: Suicides
Post by: C17 Tech on March 12, 2017, 09:37:25
I think you've misinterpreting what a few of us are saying.  I was trying to think of a way to explain, but after a few attempts I've deleted what I've written;  I will only say that you don't always need to throw rocks to get the CO`s attention.  Sometimes throwing rocks, they can bounce back and hit the sender in the face.   :2c:

Maybe....possibly

I'll assume that, from time to time, you spend 12 hours in the air flying with your CO. He's probably a really solid guy (or girl). My point is: There are hundreds of COs who are not like your CO. They are neither impartial nor objective. They are not legally trained. They are very busy people who don't like to be bothered by trivial matters when they are trying to get rubber on the ramp, completing a Masters Degree in War Studies, or putting out the daily administrative fires in unit lines.

Further, COs do not know that a member's right to see their CO is entrenched in law. It is not discretionary. With 150 (guess) COs in the forces, 75 of them rotating annually, there is no standard. You, more than anyone, should know that an Infantry unit like PPCLI/RCR/VANDOO is much different than a Flying Squadron in Greenwood. The standards of discipline vary widely across the CAF. This boils down to one broadly interconnected theme: Suicides, mental health, and a member's rights under FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION.

All a member has under this proviso is: 1. a RIGHT to ORALLY complain to his CO (dissatisfaction & dissent) 2. RIGHT to speak with his CO on any PERSONAL matter, and 3. The RIGHT to file a grievance directly to his CO IAW QR&O (Communication With Higher Authority) How many soldiers, sailors and aviators know that these are entrenched rights. Is there a perception or climate of fear regarding reporting or complaining in the CAF? YES/NO

In closing, it has been reported directly to Parliament that Commanding Officers have NO JURISDICTION to try members suffering from mental disorders by summary trial. In a perfect world, this would not happen, BUT it does. Every weekday in Canada, (NON STAT holidays) 5-6 members are charged under the CSD.

The suicide reports submitted to Parliament clearly state that some members that took their own lives were subjected to numerous CSD charges, remedial measures and other disciplinary measures. These measures restrict them from being posted to the JPSU to get the administrative (and medical) help they need. COs decide (discretion) if the member gets posted to JPSU, not the MOs or Chaplains.

Members have to know their rights and not be afraid to assert them firmly but respectfully. The Charter is as useless as the Bill of Rights if CAF members are sleeping on those fundamental rights and freedoms. What is the point of defending a constitution that affords no protections to those defending it? Giving a voice to the voiceless is what I like to do. I advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. If a forces member dies at by his/her own hands, then I want to ensure that ALL those who either act by commission or omission are held to account.

Bottom Line: COs cannot refuse an application by a member to speak with their CO. The culture of fear inherent in the CAF, makes all CoC members worry about what the member has to say to the CO. They begin to press for reasons when those reasons are personal and Protected B. Let us not forget, the DND/CAF is NOT immune from Torts of Invasion of Privacy and Intrusion upon Seclusion. If Commanding Officers actually possessed genuine empathy for subordinates, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

The three mutinies in 1949 were caused by members feeling that there was NO WAY to properly air their grievances. If they would have had a welfare committee (without a CO vetoing everything) these collective insubordination incidents would not have occurred. If the CO has the power to say no, then he will say no. Suicides and mutinies do not need to occur! END OF PASSIONATE RANT BY ME

[A CO] "who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation" - Machiavelli