This week, the Globe and Mail revealed the results of their investigation into the suicide deaths of military veterans. Out of this investigation has come an updated number of suicide deaths, 59, coming out of the Afghanistan mission. This is ahead of Remembrance Day, Nov. 11. CSP agrees with the Globe that all veterans should be remembered, including those who die by suicide.
Responsible media reporting is a best practice in suicide prevention, and we feel that the Globe has adhered to this practice in their reporting on veteran suicides. We also commend the Globe for talking so openly about suicide, thereby helping to break down the stigma surrounding it. Education is another best practice in suicide prevention, and the Globe is educating the public in this important topic, while putting pressure on the Canadian military to take action to reduce suicide.
We would also like to extend our commendations to Romeo Dallaire, military veteran and former senator, who has been vocal about veterans mental health issues, and has continued to present his views in conjunction with the Globe’s investigative articles.
Below is a list of articles that appeared in the Globe related to the Unremembered investigation, including the original investigative article itself.
Oct. 31, 2015
Ahead of Remembrance Day, the Globe and Mail featured a story about Canadian soldiers lost to suicide as their top feature article Saturday, Oct. 31. The article is a feature, and is very in-depth. The Globe is calling “The Unremembered” an “investigation” into soldier suicides, as the Globe claims the Canadian Forces kept 54 suicides a secret.
This investigation has been the catalyst for a number of other Globe articles, all of which are listed below.
Romeo Dallaire decries governments ‘penny pinching’ care for vets
Nov. 1, 2015
Romeo Dallaire, former Canadian senator, has spoken out about the high number of soldier suicides following a return home from war (one third of soldiers who died in the war were suicide deaths). Dallaire is urging the government to take action to prevent military suicides. Dallaire himself has PTSD, and has attempted suicide in the past. He has been very vocal about his concerns regarding the military and suicide.
Medical discharges pose risk to wounded Canadian soldiers
Nov. 2, 2015
This article examines the issue of soldiers being expelled from the military if they are wounded and are deemed unfit to deploy. According to veterans’ advocates this expulsion poses a risk to the mental health of soldiers, and is cited as a possible factor in the suicide death of Sgt. Paul Martin.
At least 59 Canadian soldiers died by suicide after Afghanistan war
Nov. 2, 2015
Late Monday, the Canadian military updated their count of soldiers who died by suicide after serving in Afghanistan. The final count now is 59, after an update from the military themselves. The initial Globe count was 54.
Canadian veteran suicides should prompt action, advocates say
Nov. 3, 2015
Veterans advocates are calling for better support for veterans who are returning to private life, in order to ease transition and decrease the risk of mental health issues which can ultimately lead to suicide.
Nov. 3: Soldiers dead by suicide plus other letters to the editor
Nov. 3, 2015
These letters give insight into the response of Canadians to the Globe’s investigation, as do the comments on each article.
Expert call to regularly examine Canadian veterans suicides has gone ignored
Nov. 4, 2015
The Globe has found that a government expert group looked into 12 veteran suicides and developed recommendations based on these deaths; one of which includes the routine review of veteran suicides. This call to action took place five years ago and has not yet been adopted.
Canada must do more than simply remember its soldiers
Nov. 5, 2015
Romeo Dallaire has written yet another article for the Globe in regards to soldier suicides. This article features recommendations for what the Canadian Forces should do to address the issue. In particular, Dallaire recommends that the new government honour the “social covenant” that was put in place by MPs last May. The social covenant ensure that veterans receive as much care in the front lines as they do back home.
We can prevent military suicides, but vast work needs to be done
Nov. 6, 2015
Antoon Leenars explains the high rates of suicide in the military.
Military memorial commemorates Canada’s ‘soldiers of suicide’
Nov. 7, 2015
This article describes a humble memorial dedicated to soldiers lost to suicide. The memorial is in the National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.
Veteran Affairs minister vows to change how Ottawa treats returning soldiers
Nov. 8, 2015
Newly appointed Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr has already acknowledged the issue of suicide in the military and has said that it is an issue that is on the ministry’s radar. The Liberals said they would give an additional $100 million per year to provide support for families caring for veterans with physical or mental health issues.