Chief of the Defence Staff Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy Message

Article / October 5, 2017

Suicide is an issue we have been dealing with for a very long time. Like many of you, I’ve lost friends to suicide and it’s gut-wrenching every time it happens. Every life that is lost, every career cut short, is a blow to our military family.

This is a complex problem. There is no quick or easy solution. But there are ways we can make it easier for those who are suffering in silence to get the help they need. This is what we’re doing today with the Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy. We want to change the attitude around suicide and mental illness, and we’ll do this in several ways.

First, resilience will continue to be a priority. Like with any other injury, prevention is our best line of defence. This means training and preparing you throughout your career for stressful and traumatic situations, so you can bounce back more quickly if you are injured or wounded.

If you do have a problem, you will get the help you need. Our medical system exists to treat you for any injury or wound you sustain—whether mental or physical, on deployment or at home. I will not tolerate any form of stigma or judgment levied against someone who has the courage to ask for help. I expect all CAF leaders to foster a culture of respect and compassion that puts the well-being of our people and their families first.

Don’t let yourself, your friends, your family or your coworkers struggle alone. Just the act of reaching out could save a life.   

Jonathan H. VanceGeneral
Chief of the Defence Staff

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