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Suicides

daftandbarmy

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BeyondTheNow said:
Good day all,

I’m currently working on a university course research paper discussing not only stats of the suicide rates of military members (how they’re not as high percentage-wise as the general public sometimes perceives them to be), but also how civilians view the suicide of military members in general terms, as compared to the issues of suicide outside of CAF. (i.e more, less or equal levels of understanding, empathy, sympathy, apathy, MH stigmas, etc.)

The past few weeks have been daunting with the several searches and scanning of soldier obituaries, the reading of comments, op-eds and other news articles, as well as the organizing and recording of info. However, I feel it a worthy subject and am enjoying working on it.

To that end, I’m wondering if any current or former service members would be willing to share any experiences of conversations they may have had over the years with civilian friends or family who expressed their views on the topic. Were they more or less concerned for the overall well-being of CAF members? Did they express feelings of anger, dismissal or confusion over member suicides? Just things of that nature.

If there’s anyone willing to share, I believe it would be a helpful component to the paper. As well, please note that I will not use any direct quotes and/or identifying info in the paper without express permission from an individual who responds. However, if I receive any feedback and there’s a portion of the exchange I’d like to use and the individual agrees, I’ll require name, rank and military status for the purposes of legitimacy.

Please shoot me a PM if you’d like to contribute.

Thanks,
BTN

Got your 'ethical review' component approved by the uni yet? Just wondering....
 

BeyondTheNow

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Yes. It’s a sociology/behavioural sciences course. One of the topics presented as a choice was suicide rates among military members. After discussion with the prof, I requested to angle the topic differently, as there are countless reports already documenting that specific subject matter.

To be clear, this isn’t intended as a negative issue, or to cause offence. It’s exploring how in some instances, groups outside of others (in this case, civilians outside military; but could easily be applied to those belonging to pro sports teams, celebrities, even things as simple as the Rotary Club, or smaller local gatherings requiring membership) retain misgivings surrounding important societal issues. Sometimes the same expectations and views aren’t applied evenly when observing those whose status (employment, social, etc) sets them apart in some way.

It’s not an easy subject matter, but I’ve always been highly interested in sociology/psychological development, human interactions, what factors shape peoples’ thoughts and feelings, and why, etc.
 

daftandbarmy

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BeyondTheNow said:
It’s not an easy subject matter, but I’ve always been highly interested in psychology/psychological development, what factors shape peoples’ thoughts and feelings, and why, etc.

Well, clearly you're not 'Infantry material' then ;)

Good subject, good luck!
 

BeyondTheNow

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daftandbarmy said:
Well, clearly you're not 'Infantry material' then ;)

Good subject, good luck!

Well, you’re not wrong. ;D

Thank you
 

brihard

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BeyondTheNow said:
Good day all,

I’m currently working on a university course research paper discussing not only stats of the suicide rates of military members (how they’re not as high percentage-wise as the general public sometimes perceives them to be), but also how civilians view the suicide of military members in general terms, as compared to the issues of suicide outside of CAF. (i.e more, less or equal levels of understanding, empathy, sympathy, apathy, MH stigmas, etc.)

The past few weeks have been daunting with the several searches and scanning of soldier obituaries, the reading of comments, op-eds and other news articles, as well as the organizing and recording of info. However, I feel it a worthy subject and am enjoying working on it.

To that end, I’m wondering if any current or former service members would be willing to share any experiences of conversations they may have had over the years with civilian friends or family who expressed their views on the topic. Were they more or less concerned for the overall well-being of CAF members? Did they express feelings of anger, dismissal or confusion over member suicides? Just things of that nature.

If there’s anyone willing to share, I believe it would be a helpful component to the paper. As well, please note that I will not use any direct quotes and/or identifying info in the paper without express permission from an individual who responds. However, if I receive any feedback and there’s a portion of the exchange I’d like to use and the individual agrees, I’ll require name, rank and military status for the purposes of legitimacy.

Please shoot me a PM if you’d like to contribute.

Thanks,
BTN

Generally speaking, a lot of indifference. There's a vague awareness of a suicide problem, but it's entirely from the news. Nobody who isn't nerding out on the issue seems to actually have any knowledge of what the data actually says, how it breaks down demographically, etc. Most civilians don't really care or give it any thought. Not in any dismissive way, it just doesn't cross their minds. It did briefly a few years ago when it spiked in the media in late 2013, but that's about it. Since the Globe and Mail expose on Afghan vet suicides in 2015, there's been little attention. A minor media blip after the Veteran suicide mortality study came out, but that was like a couple of days' coverage.

The public is unaware and uninterested.
 

Remius

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Brihard said:
The public is unaware and uninterested.

I would second that.  We always hear "Died suddenly"  not "Died by suicide" in the media and even obituaries.  some of us can read through the lines.  I've had one colleague hang himself and two others ready to do the same but somehow got through it, thank god.  Society tends to hide it.  (I get that they are trying to avoid copycats but it is also keeping people unaware)

Also I think that because it afflicts men disproportionately that it isn't part of whatever social justice cause flavour of the month.
 

OldSolduer

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Remius said:
I would second that.  We always hear "Died suddenly"  not "Died by suicide" in the media and even obituaries.  some of us can read through the lines.  I've had one colleague hang himself and two others ready to do the same but somehow got through it, thank god.  Society tends to hide it.  (I get that they are trying to avoid copycats but it is also keeping people unaware)

Also I think that because it afflicts men disproportionately that it isn't part of whatever social justice cause flavour of the month.

Suicide contagion is a real concern.

There is a stigma that surrounds suicide that is difficult to break through, for a number of reasons. It is becoming somewhat easier to speak about.
 

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Remius said:
Also I think that because it afflicts men disproportionately that it isn't part of whatever social justice cause flavour of the month.

My understanding is that many more women than men contemplate suicide, and more women actually attempt it.  Men however, due to the methods chosen, are more likely to succeed.

I just read Matt Haig's book "Reasons To Stay Alive."  It offers a good insight into the internal viewpoint of those at risk.

My experience has been that even with all the talk, both outside the military and even more so in it's ranks, there is not a good understanding of what puts people at risk.
 

mariomike

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Baz said:
My understanding is that many more women than men contemplate suicide, and more women actually attempt it.

There was a lady on a subway station platform. Possibly a potential jumper. Who knows? She wasn't getting on trains.

Asked what was on her mind, she said if just one person had smiled at her, she wouldn't have gone down there.  :)
 

BeyondTheNow

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Thank you very much, everyone, for your input.

For obvious and extremely understandable reasons, there are several articles and recorded comments in existence detailing thoughts, feelings and other viewpoints shared from the parent(s), friends and other loved ones of the deceased in some of these circumstances. I’m trying to keep those sentiments somewhat detached from the focal point, as they’re more emotionally invested in the subject. (I don’t envy the grief they’ve endured, or the process of trying to come to terms with the individual’s passing.)

I’ve been able to accumulate a few opinions from those who are willing to share simply on a more matter-of-fact basis; who aren’t close to the topic in any personal way. With things the way they are at the moment, I now have more time to spend on it, which is a positive. I’d like to gather as much material as I can.

Please feel free to continue sharing any other thoughts that come to mind via this thread or PM.
 

daftandbarmy

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BeyondTheNow said:
Thank you very much, everyone, for your input.

For obvious and extremely understandable reasons, there are several articles and recorded comments in existence detailing thoughts, feelings and other viewpoints shared from the parent(s), friends and other loved ones of the deceased in some of these circumstances. I’m trying to keep those sentiments somewhat detached from the focal point, as they’re more emotionally invested in the subject. (I don’t envy the grief they’ve endured, or the process of trying to come to terms with the individual’s passing.)

I’ve been able to accumulate a few opinions from those who are willing to share simply on a more matter-of-fact basis; who aren’t close to the topic in any personal way. With things the way they are at the moment, I now have more time to spend on it, which is a positive. I’d like to gather as much material as I can.

Please feel free to continue sharing any other thoughts that come to mind via this thread or PM.

From a purely selfish point of view I suggest that you be very careful about your research plan. It's really, really easy to blow the scope of your paper out of the water.
 

BeyondTheNow

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daftandbarmy said:
From a purely selfish point of view I suggest that you be very careful about your research plan. It's really, really easy to blow the scope of your paper out of the water.

Agreed. There’s appropriate sensitivity and discretion being used here. 
 

OldSolduer

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While we are on the topic, during crises such as the one we are experiencing now, does the suicide rate rise?
 

BeyondTheNow

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Hamish Seggie said:
While we are on the topic, during crises such as the one we are experiencing now, does the suicide rate rise?

I’m strictly answering based on my own thoughts. I haven’t seen/heard any reports and I’m obviously not any sort of SME. I’d think in time we’ll start seeing all sorts of stats regarding different difficulties experienced during all of this.

I think much weight needs to be given towards an individual’s MH status going into this. Then we’d have to take other factors into consideration. How long will this last? Is the person mobile and able to get outside easily? What’s their financial situation like? Personal? Do they have a support system? Do they have healthy hobbies? The list could go on forever.

I personally feel the current climate could absolutely exacerbate certain MH matters for some, and perhaps push an individual too far. There are many who rely on gatherings, community outreach programs, regular access to certain amenities, etc. I don’t like to sound pessimistic, but I think it’s a definite possibility that instances may reflect a rise. Being shut it/being cut-off for an extended amount of time can affect certain people very quickly if the circumstances are right. Some may feel an abundance of doom on top of their already weighing feelings of hopelessness. It can be a detrimental combo.

For transparency’s sake, there have been suicides in my family, as well as other MH complications. I’ve talked about some of my own here and there over the years on this forum also. It’s a subject that’s close to my heart for many reasons.

 

dimsum

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces has quietly revealed that 20 service members took their own lives last year, the largest number of military suicides since 2014.

The increase came despite the federal government having introduced a suicide-prevention strategy for military members and veterans in 2017, underscoring the complexity of the challenge facing the military and government in preventing such tragedies.

The new figures quietly published online by the Canadian Armed Forces in January showed 17 full-time regular-force members and three reservists died by suicide in 2019.

Not only did that represent an increase of five military suicides over the previous year, it was the largest number of suicides among those in uniform since 23 service members took their own lives in 2014. The figures did not break the numbers down by gender.

Military officials did not issue an accompanying report to explain the increase or what additional steps may be needed to address the situation, but Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email Wednesday that an analysis will come later in the year.

[More at link]

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/armed-forces-reports-20-military-suicides-last-year-largest-number-since-2014
 

daftandbarmy

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Dimsum said:
https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/armed-forces-reports-20-military-suicides-last-year-largest-number-since-2014

I'm pretty sure they still don't count Class A reservists, who attempt or 'complete' suicide, in those overall numbers...

Meanwhile:

Are Covid 19 patients at risk for PTSD?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-resilience/202004/are-covid-19-patients-risk-ptsd
 

Blackadder1916

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daftandbarmy said:
Are Covid 19 patients at risk for PTSD?

Or will CAF members who may deploy in support of Covid-19 related activities be at a greater risk of illness/injury and what expectation is there that such VAC claims will be handled expeditiously?  The "insurance principle" for veterans' claims only applies when the illness or injury is identified as having happened in a "special duty area".  If worst case scenarios happen and serving members either die or have lasting impairment as a result of contracting a Covid-19 infection, are we going to see in the future a reluctance to so designate that infection as attributable to military service.
 

dapaterson

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daftandbarmy said:
I'm pretty sure they still don't count Class A reservists, who attempt or 'complete' suicide, in those overall numbers...

Meanwhile:

Are Covid 19 patients at risk for PTSD?

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/hope-resilience/202004/are-covid-19-patients-risk-ptsd
When their chain of command reports attempted or completed suicides as they are mandated to do, class A reservists are included.

When the chain of command fails...
 

mariomike

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Blackadder1916 said:
If worst case scenarios happen and serving members either die or have lasting impairment as a result of contracting a Covid-19 infection, are we going to see in the future a reluctance to so designate that infection as attributable to military service.

Not sure about VAC. But, I read this about WSIB,

The SARS precedent suggests that the WSIB will likely provide workers’ compensation benefits to employees who show symptoms of Coronavirus as a result of some work-related exposure.
https://www.siskinds.com/coronavirus-employers-questions/


 

daftandbarmy

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dapaterson said:
When their chain of command reports attempted or completed suicides as they are mandated to do, class A reservists are included.

When the chain of command fails...

Thanks for clarifying that... and confirming what happens when some a$$es don't get kicked enough  :(
 
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