Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Military Suicides Increased in 2008

More Canadian soldiers killed themselves in 2008 than the year before says a new report. The figures come as public awareness increases about the mental health of soldiers in both Canada and the United States. The death of Canadian Maj. Michelle Mendes (pictured) in Afghanistan in her living quarters on April 23 led to speculation on health problems or an accident, or possibly suicide, as a cause of death, bringing the issue of soldier stress to the forefront. A probe into Mendes's death has yet to release its findings.
CBC reports:
Newly released Defence Department documents show 15 active-duty members of the military took their own lives last year, a rate of 23 per 100,000. In 2007 there were 11 confirmed suicides. The average rate of suicide over the three years Canadian troops have been involved in the heaviest combat in Afghanistan — from 2005 to 2008 — was 17.9 per 100,000, the study found. The average suicide rate for all of Canada was 11.6 per 100,000 in 2005, the most recent year for which data from Statistics Canada is available.