Year: 2015 Source: Ottawa, ON: Directorate of Force Health Protection, 2015. 37 p. SIEC No: 20150473

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.

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