The Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada Release 2018 Reports on Suicide Mortality

April 16, 2019 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces / Veterans Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada must provide the best possible care and support to Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and to Veterans. Every suicide is a tragedy and is a complex issue we take very seriously. The Department of National Defence (DND) and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) continue to explore ways to enhance our support and programs and services to CAF members, Veterans and their families.

Today, DND released the 2018 Surgeon General Report on Suicide Mortality in the Canadian Armed Forces and VAC published their 2018 Veteran Suicide Mortality Study.

The 2018 Surgeon General Report has been released annually since 2008, and aims to better understand suicide in the actively serving CAF population. The 2018 Veteran Suicide Mortality Study is the second report published by VAC and seeks to better understand suicide among Veterans. Both studies are important so programs and services can be better aligned to meet the needs of CAF members, Veterans and their families.

The findings from these studies, along with other ongoing research initiatives contribute to the enhancement of programs and benefits that will ultimately improve the health and well-being of CAF members and Veterans.


“Our government recognizes the sacrifices our women and men in uniform make on behalf of our country. Taking care of people is our top priority. These reports will help us further understand this issue and find effective ways to support our military members, Veterans, and their families.”

― Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of Defence

“When it comes to suicide, there is no simple solution or easy answer. But we must do everything we can to better understand the issue, so we can prevent suicide amongst Canada’s Veterans. This research – along with other research projects on Veterans’ well-being – will allow us to continue to improve our services and supports for Veterans and their families.”

― Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence.

“I know that the Canadian Armed Forces has highly capable and compassionate leaders, medical personnel, and others who work hard to improve our support programs and services. They are as committed to the health and wellbeing of our military personnel as I am. The Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy will help guide this work, and will help to ease the stressors that some experience during transition to civilian life.”

 ― Brigadier-General Andrew Downes, Surgeon General

Quick facts

  • The CAF has been tracking suicide mortality since 1996 and making the results public.

  • The Canadian Forces Health Services publishes an Annual Report on Suicide Mortality to examine suicide rates and the relationship between suicide, deployment and other potential suicide risk factors.

  • The Surgeon General’s annual Suicide Mortality Report for 2018 is an update covering the period from 1995 to 2017. Between 1995 and 2017, there were no statistically significant increases in the overall suicide rates.

  • The Veterans Suicide Mortality Study tracked Veterans who released from the CAF between 1976 and 2012. In 2017, the study looked at suicide risk by age and sex, and trends over time. This year, the same Veterans were examined in more detail including: suicide risk by component (Reserve Force vs Regular Force), rank, age at release, reason for release, and how many years after release Veterans were at greatest risk of dying by suicide. The 2019 Veterans Suicide Mortality Study is expected to add 2013 and 2014 to its findings

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