1. CF Personnel, Veterans and Suicide
a. Based on a well publicized StatsCan study of over 112,000 Regular Force Personnel who served after 1971 and were who were released by or before 2006, the suicide rate for male Veterans was 46% higher than for male Canadian civilians of similar ages. The same study also noted that suicide risks were even higher for younger male CF personnel and Veterans. – This may be noteworthy, considering that 75% of all Reservists, leave the Canadian Forces, by or before age 30.
(What we have to be careful about is not to fall into the trap that some media types have followed, who blithely connect CF membership with an increase in suicide. Period! – That type of logic is akin to suggesting that a lack of sunlight causes an increase in crime, because the majority of crimes are committed at night time.)
b. Granted, PTSD has been strongly associated with ongoing and severe health problems, including depression and thoughts of suicide among too many CF Personnel and Veterans. This fact presents an ongoing challenge for both the Canadian Forces and for Veterans’ Affairs Canada. But there are also many problems other than PTSD that afflict the over 600,000 living Canadians Veterans of both the Regular Force and of the Reserves. The trouble is, Veterans’ Affairs Canada has only ever heard from about 100,000 Veterans, who are actual VAC clients. The other half-million Veterans are unknown to VAC; and many suffer in silence and in unfortunate ignorance.
In order to better serve these 500,000 or so unknown Canadian Veterans, a free 24-hour helpline was established by Veterans’ Affairs Canada. – A call to 800-268-7708
(or to 800-567-5803 for the hearing impaired) will allow for a connection to a nearby mental health professional, and may trigger up to 20 free counselling sessions. Also access to a special Veterans’ Emergency Fund (announced in 2017) will be available as of April 2018.
For other Veteran related problems a trained Royal Canadian Legion Service Officer could be another good and free resource, even if the Veteran is not a Legion member.
Call 1-877-534-4666 for further information.
2. Friday Savings for Veterans at Canadian Tire Gas Bars. (3 cents per litre)
Every Friday gasoline purchases are 3 cents per litre cheaper at Canadian Tire gas bars. Serving Members show CF ID cards. Veterans can use CF1 cards.
(Also acceptable for Veterans are NDI 75, and VAC Health Benefit Card.)
3. If you have any other concerns or helpful suggestions, please contact any of the members of our Veterans’ Concerns Committee, or me personally.