Year: 2023 Source: Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health. (2018). 4(2), 110-116. doi:10.3138/jmvfh.2017-0045 SIEC No: 20230515
Introduction: Suicide prevention for Veterans is a public health priority. However, it has been challenging to study suicide in Canadian Veterans post-release from the military. Th e Veteran Suicide Mortality Study (VSMS)  has assembled data on the risk of death by suicide for Canadian Veterans compared to other Canadians. Methods: This was a record linkage study of Canadian cause of death data from Statistics Canada linked  with a cohort of Canadian Veterans from pay data of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Th e population-based cohort included Veterans released with Regular Force or Reserve Force Class C service for the period 1976–2012. Death by suicide was identified by International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codes. Estimates of relative risk for suicide were calculated using standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) with the Canadian general  population (CGP) as the reference. Results: Male Veterans had a higher risk of suicide compared to the CGP (SMR = 1.36 [95% CI, 1.30–1.44]). Female Veterans also had a higher risk (SMR = 1.81 [95% CI, 1.40–2.31]).  Suicide risk for Veterans was consistently higher than for the CGP over the 37 years of follow-up. Risk for male Veterans was highest for those under 25 years old and decreased with age, but risk for females was higher  than the CGP regardless of age. Discussion: Th e finding of higher risk of death by suicide for both male and female Veterans compared to the CGP informs the action plans of the recently released suicide prevention  strategy. Future studies will identify other characteristics of subgroups of Veterans at higher risk of suicide.