Canadian Veterans Advocacy

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New announcement: Life After Service Survey 2016 - Sondage sur la vie apr├Ęs le service militaire 2

Life After Service Survey 2016 - Sondage sur la vie après le service militaire 2016 Sommaire

REPORT: http://www.canadianveteransadvocacy.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/LASS-2016-survey-TR2.pdf

The Life After Service Studies (LASS) program of research is designed to further understand the transition from military to civilian life and ultimately improve the health of Veterans in Canada. LASS partners are Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the Department of National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces (DND/CAF), and Statistics Canada. LASS 2016 expands on the earlier studies from 2010 and 2013 by including family content and a longitudinal component in two major studies: the survey of health and well-being, and the record linkage for pre- and post-release income trends. This technical report provides initial cross-sectional findings for Regular Force Veterans from the 2016 survey. Additional analysis will be covered in subsequent reports.

LASS 2016 survey data was collected by telephone in February and March 2016 by Statistics Canada interviewers who obtained a 73% response rate. Results describe Veterans who released (at post-entry ranks) from the CAF Regular Force between 1998 and 2015.

Findings indicate that 52% of Veterans reported an easy adjustment to civilian life, while 32% reported difficulty. Officers had a lower rate of difficult adjustment (17%), compared to 29% of Senior Non-Commissioned Members (SrNCM) and 39% of Junior Non-Commissioned Members (JrNCM). Veterans with recent releases (between 2012 and 2015) had a higher rate of difficult adjustment (42%), compared to earlier releases between 1998 and 2012 (29%). Compared to those with earlier releases, these recently-released Veterans had higher rates of service in Afghanistan, fair or poor self-rated mental health and less than 10 years of military service, all factors associated with difficult adjustment.

Veterans reported chronic conditions, including arthritis (29%), depression (21%), anxiety (15%), and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (14%), at higher prevalences than Canadians of comparable age and sex. SrNCM had the highest rate of arthritis (40%), and JrNCM had the highest rates of depression (24%), anxiety (18%), and PTSD (18%). Veterans also reported higher rates than Canadians for hearing problems, pain, and activity limitations. Since LASS 2013, the trend for chronic conditions has been increasing, although not statistically significant.

Most Veterans were employed (65%). SrNCM had a lower employment rate (57%) compared to Officers (64%), and JrNCM (70%). The unemployment rate for Veterans was 8%, similar to Canadians of comparable age and sex. Non-labour force activities for Veterans included retirement (16%), on disability (8%), and training (5%). Since LASS 2013, the trend for non-labour force activities has been increasing, although not statistically significant.

Some Veterans experienced low income (4%). This was lower than Canadians of comparable age and sex (14%), and has not changed since LASS 2013. JrNCM had the highest rate (6%). Most Veterans were satisfied with their finances (69%), and has decreased since LASS 2013 (74%). Officers had a higher satisfaction rate (85%) compared to SrNCM (75%), and JrNCM (60%).

LASS 2016 included new content on families. When asked about the effect their release had on the family, most Veterans reported that the transition was easy for their partner (57%) and their children (60%). However, 28% of Veterans indicated their partners had difficulty with their release, and 17% reported their children had difficulty with their release.

LASS findings have provided evidence to inform the efforts of both VAC and DND/CAF to support transition to civilian life. LASS 2016 findings will continue to contribute to improvements to programs, benefits, communications and outreach, to ultimately improve the health and well-being of Veterans in Canada.


Sondage sur la vie après le service militaire 2016
Sommaire

Le programme de recherche Études sur la vie après le service militaire (EVASM) vise à nous aider à mieux comprendre la transition de la vie militaire à la vie civile et en bout de ligne à améliorer la santé des vétérans au Canada. Les partenaires des EVASM sont Anciens Combattants Canada (ACC), le ministère de la Défense nationale/les Forces armées canadiennes (MDN/FAC) et Statistique Canada. Les EVASM 2016 élargissent les études antérieures réalisées en 2010 et 2013 en incluant la dimension familiale et une composante longitudinale dans deux études importantes : l'enquête sur la santé et le bien-être et le couplage de données sur les tendances en matière de revenu avant et après la libération. Ce rapport technique fournit les premières constatations transversales de l'enquête de 2016 pour les vétérans de la Force régulière. Une analyse supplémentaire sera traitée dans des rapports subséquents.

Les données de l'enquête dans le cadre des EVASM 2016 ont été recueillies par téléphone en février et en mars 2016 par des intervieweurs de Statistique Canada qui ont obtenu un taux de réponse de 73 %. Les résultats décrivent les vétérans qui ont été libérés (à des grades postérieurs à l'entrée) de la Force régulière des FAC entre 1998 et 2015.

Les constatations indiquent que 52 % des vétérans ont déclaré que leur transition à la vie civile avait été facile, alors que cette transition a été difficile pour 32 % d'entre eux. Les officiers affichaient un plus faible taux de difficulté d'adaptation (17 %), comparativement aux militaires de rang supérieur (MR sup) (29 %) et aux militaires de rang subalterne (MR sub) (39 %). Les vétérans récemment libérés (entre 2012 et 2015) ont affiché un taux plus élevé de difficulté d'adaptation (42 %), comparativement aux vétérans libérés entre 1998 et 2012 (29 %). Comparativement aux vétérans libérés plus tôt, les vétérans récemment libérés affichaient un taux plus élevé de service en Afghanistan, une auto-évaluation de la santé mentale passable ou mauvaise, et moins de 10 années de service militaire, soit tous des facteurs associés à une adaptation difficile.

Les vétérans ont déclaré souffrir d'affections chroniques, comme l'arthrite (29 %), la dépression (21 %), l'anxiété (15 %) et l'état de stress post-traumatique (ESPT) (14 %), à un taux de prévalence plus élevé que dans la population canadienne de même âge et sexe. Le taux d'arthrite était le plus élevé chez les MR sup (40 %), alors que les MR sub affichaient les taux les plus élevés de dépression (24 %), d'anxiété (18 %) et d'ESPT (18 %). Les taux de problèmes d'audition, de douleur et d'incapacités fonctionnelles étaient plus élevés chez les vétérans que chez les Canadiens. Depuis les EVASM 2013, la tendance pour les affections chroniques a augmenté, mais pas statistiquement significative.

La plupart des vétérans occupaient un emploi (65 %). Le taux d'emploi des MR sup (57 %) était inférieur à celui des officiers (64 %) et des MR sub (70 %). Le taux de chômage chez les vétérans était de 8 %, semblable à celui de la population canadienne de même âge et sexe. Les activités autres que main d'œuvre pour les vétérans comprenaient la retraite (16 %), l'état d'invalidité (8 %) et la formation (5 %). Depuis les EVASM 2013, la tendance pour les activités autres que main d'œuvre a augmenté, mais pas statistiquement significative.

Certains vétérans avaient un faible revenu (4 %). Le taux était inférieur à celui de la population canadienne de même âge et sexe (14 %), et il est inchangé depuis les EVASM 2013. Les MR sub affichaient le taux le plus élevé (6 %). La plupart des vétérans étaient satisfaits de leur situation financière (69 %). Les officiers affichaient le plus haut taux de satisfaction (85 %) comparativement aux MR sup (75 %) et aux MR sub (60 %) et a diminué depuis les EVASM 2013 (74 %).

Les EVASM 2016 comprenaient une nouvelle dimension sur les familles. Lorsqu'on a demandé aux vétérans quelle avait été l'incidence de leur libération sur leur famille, la plupart d'entre eux ont indiqué que la transition avait été facile pour leur partenaire (57 %) et leurs enfants (60 %). Toutefois, 28 % des vétérans ont indiqué que leurs partenaires avaient de la difficulté avec leur libération, et 17 % ont indiqué que leurs enfants avaient eu de la difficulté avec leur libération.

Les résultats des EVASM ont permis de fournir des éléments de preuve pour documenter les efforts d'ACC et du MDN/FAC et appuyer ainsi la transition vers la vie civile. Les résultats des EVASM 2016 continueront de contribuer à l'amélioration des programmes, des avantages, des communications et de la sensibilisation, pour améliorer en bout de ligne la santé et le bien-être des vétérans au Canada.

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http://canadianveteransadvocacy.com/Board2/index.php?topic=17175.0

Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

New announcement: Rally Point Retreat

Our Mission
Rally Point Retreat provides a quiet, safe, and relaxing, rural setting on Nova Scotia's South Shore as a respite for essential services members in treatment for CIS/CSI/OSI/OSIS/PTSD to regroup themselves and reconnect with their families, to prevent further collateral damage from traumatic events. http://www.rallypointretreat.org

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http://canadianveteransadvocacy.com/Board2/index.php?topic=17132.0

Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New announcement: REACHING OUT: IMPROVING SERVICE DELIVERY TO CANADIAN VETERANS

**Report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs*
REACHING OUT: IMPROVING SERVICE DELIVERY TO CANADIAN VETERANS http://www.ourcommons.ca/Content/Committee/421/ACVA/Reports/RP8685109/acvarp03/acvarp03-e.pdf

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Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

Monday, March 20, 2017

New announcement: Report critical of Veterans Affairs buried as ombudsmen investigates

"Hitachi Consulting believes that (Veterans Affairs) and others have conducted sufficient studies and analyses in recent months and years in order to take action now to make a significant improvement in transition success," said the report.

http://www.ctvnews.ca/mobile/politics/report-critical-of-veterans-affairs-buried-as-ombudsmen-investigates-1.2742088

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Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

New announcement: Don’t Give Up the Fight – Blog #20: The Homicide-Suicide among The Desmond Milit

Don't Give Up the Fight – Blog #20: The Homicide-Suicide among The Desmond Military Family: A Few Facts Uncovered / Stigma & Mental Illness


Blog #20 The Homicide-Suicide among The Desmond Military Family: A Few Facts Uncovered

Dr. Antoon A. Leenaars

I signed off with Blog #19, on June 25, 2016, till my civilian service was needed. It is now needed on the occasion of the tragic deaths of Aaliyah, Shanna, and Brenda Desmond. They died by homicide. It is also needed because of Lionel Desmond's suicide that occurred after the homicides. This tragedy was certified, through Death Scene Investigation (DSI), I belief, as homicides-suicide (H-S). Lionel Desmond was a veteran; he served with the Second Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment. Lionel served in Afghanistan for an eight-month tour in 2007. He was known and treated for a mental injury, PTSD, based on the information that I now have (MacDonald, Jan. 5, 2017; Bissett & MacDonald, Jan. 6, 2017). At least since the American Civil War, we have known (but not always remembered): Suicide is a cost of service. Homicide is a cost of service too. Therefore, it follows that H-S is a cost of service! Of course, these are not the only aftershocks, so are alcohol/substance abuse, some accidents, incarceration, divorce, and many more self-directed and/or other-directed ones.

Homicide(s)-Suicides (H-S) are predictable after war. We know that (but it is masked. Stigma? Walls/Barriers?). I would encourage a read of my 2013 book, Suicide among the Armed Forces: Understanding the Cost of Service, available through my publisher, Routledge. As I cannot rewrite everything here from that book (blogs are supposed to be short and concise), I here copy a few quotes from Chapter 9, "The many faces of violence: Homicide, accidental deaths, self-harm, and incarceration":

"War-related death is violence. Suicide is violence. Homicide is violence. Suicide is self-directed violence. Homicide and war-related death are other-directed violence. They are lethal violence. Suicide, homicide, war-related death and other violence have probably always been part of the military experience. …"What is homicide?" is an age old question. … we can then define intentional homicide as: Intentional homicide is a conscious act of other-induced annihilation, best understood as a multi-dimensional event in a needful individual who defines an issue for which the homicide is perceived as the best solution."

That is quite similar to a definition of suicide, except that in suicide the best solution is self-directed violence. In H-S, it is both; it is a way to fix a situation. It is a final solution. Lionel was known to have stated about his unbearable pain, "I will fix it". Let me return to my book:

"Suicide is a multi-determined event. Homicide is a multi-determined event. Thus, it follows that homicide followed by suicide is also not determined by one factor. … We know almost nothing about homicide in the military. … Hill, Johnson, and Barton (2006) offer an overview on military homicide and suicide in harm's way. They undertook a chart review of 425 deployed soldiers seen for mental health reasons. They found that 127 (nearly 30%) had been suicidal and 67 (nearly 16%) had been homicidal within the past month. That is huge!"

We know nothing on military H-S, well almost nothing. We now sadly know the Homicides-Suicide of Aaliyah, Shanna, Brenda, and Lionel Desmond on January 4, 2017 in a small rural community in Nova Scotia.

Allow me a digression on H-S that I have learned so far. I wrote another book, Suicide and Homicide-Suicide among Police, available also through Routledge. Like among soldiers/veterans, suicide is at high levels in police too. However, maybe a better credential of my authority on the topic of Homicide-Suicide; I was the lead investigator for the London Police Service (LPS) in the H-S of Superintendent Dave Lucio and Inspector Kelly Johnson (Leenaars, Collins, & Sinclair, 2008). Dave died by homicide. Kelly died after by suicide. Along with a forensic team, I was asked to undertake a DSI. I did what is called a psychological autopsy (PA). On the PA, my mentor Dr. Edwin Shneidman, a founder of the PA investigation, stated: "It (the PA) legitimately conducts interviews (with a variety of people who knew the decedent) and examines personal documents (suicide notes, diaries, and letters) and other materials (including autopsy and police reports) that are relevant to the psychological assessment of the dead individual's role in the death" (Shneidman, 1977 [italics mine]). In the Kelly Johnson case, we answered, "Why did the H-S happen?", and "What can we do to prevent a similar occurrence?" I uncovered the barren bones of this tragic case; yet, although that was interesting, even more sadly, we learned that H-S among police was at epidemic levels. Not unlike among armed forces, police forces kept it secret. In an extremely rare study, as help from police forces has not been provided, the well-known expert on police suicide, John Violanti (2007) concluded, from public data, such as newspaper reports, that H-S among police is "high', well above statistical expected levels. Therefore, it is, based on WHO criteria, at epidemic level. This, I believe, is true among the armed forces!

If one wants to understand unnecessary death and how to prevent it better, I would encourage a good read of my new 2017 book with Routledge, The Psychological Autopsy: A Roadmap for Uncovering the Barren Bones of the Suicide's Mind. You will see that DSI is not mysterious. I think the book, and a PA of the Desmond case specifically, will help not only to understand H-S better, but also to be better accountable (See Blog #19). Like Suicide, Homicide-Suicide can be prevented!

The Globe and Mail did a revealing public report on PTSD, and suicide among soldiers and veterans (D'Aliesio, Perreaux, and Maki, November 4, 2016 [and the week that followed]). They uncovered the pain and deaths of 70 soldiers and vets. They interviewed the families, friends, fellow heroes, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephane Grenier, and many others. They also interviewed me; among other concerns, I raised the issue of survivors' pain and aftershocks. I was quoted: "You have to include the family and the children because there is secondary trauma" … "It is like walking on egg shells." The eggshells after the H-S in Nova Scotia will be even sharper!

There are, of course, survivors. Aaliyah, Shanna, and Brenda (and Lionel too) are not the only victims. A friend, Dennis MacKenzie, tells his story of survival (CBC News, Jan., 6, 2017). Indeed, we know that the aftershocks in collective communities, like the military and police, are even greater. This is normal, not crazy. However, we will survive! Don't give up the fight!

One final point: Like S, H-S can be prevented; yet, we need to do more than we do now. Furthermore, the care must be culturally competent, or also called culturally safe, care! There will be walls or barriers, often our own. There will be stigma! Sadly, the Desmond family and friends may be isolated. What I learned after the Dave Lucio-Kelly Johnson case, the Johnson survivors were alienated, maybe even shamed. Not-understandably, some of the greatest barriers came from some survivors of suicide. 'Kelly was not one of us', they believed and shared. She is, so is Lionel. Homicide-Suicide is Suicide; based on actual research, we know that it is more like Suicide than Homicide. VAC needs to do more; the last time that I spoke to Mike Blais, too little for soldiers and vets was being done to date. There were Trudeau promises to soldiers and veterans on suicide prevention, like to First Nations/Métis, Inuit people, but to date little action. What will we do?

I am sure that this Blog will not make people at the VAC happy. Many decades ago, when we started the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP), we asked the federal government during an epidemic of suicide among youth, "How many of our young people are you going to let die?" It appeared that citizens are not allowed to ask such questions. The response was that I and some subsequent presidents of CASP, such as Bob Sims, were blacklisted in Ottawa; they even blacklisted CASP itself. The late 1980's to 2010 were dark years for suicide prevention in Canada. This was stigma! Of course, the whole of mental health was in the dark ages; funding for mental health was at a low, with only Iceland contributing less per capita on the world developed stage. Stigma!! Barriers!! The days of blacklisting, I hope and believe, are gone. If not, that is sanctuary trauma (See Blog #10). The Desmond's tragedy can, in fact, be an opportunity to call all of us in Canada together to help our heroes. They served; they now need our help. I think that we can. I know that we can!


References.

Bissett, K., & MacDonald, M. (2017, Jan. 7). 'I will fix it', struggling ex-soldier wrote. National Post in Windsor Star, pp. NP1 and NP4.

CBC News. (2017, Jan. 6). Veteran struggling with friend's role in apparent murder-suicide. CBC News.

D'Aliesio, R., Perreaux, L., & Maki, A. (2016, Nov. 4). We remember. The Globe & Mail, pp. 1 & 11.

Leenaars, A. (2010). Suicide and Homicide- Suicide among Police. New York: Routledge.

Leenaars, A. (2013). Suicide among the Armed Forces. New York: Routledge.

Leenaars, A. (2017). The Psychological Autopsy: A Roadmap for Uncovering the Barren Bones of the Suicide's Mind. New York: Routledge.

Leenaars, A., Collins, P., & Sinclair, D. (May 28, 2008). Report to the London Police Service and London Community on the Deaths of David Lucio and Kelly Johnson. Retrieved November, 22, 2008 from http://www.police.london.ca.

MacDonald, M. (2017, Jan 5). PTSD suspected after Afgan veteran, wife, daughter, and mother found dead. National Post in Windsor Star, pp. NP1-2.

Shneidman, E. (1977). The psychological autopsy. In L. Gottschalk, F. McGuire, E. Dinovo, H. Birch, J. Heiser (Eds.), Guide to the investigation and reporting of drug-abuse deaths (pp. 42-56). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

Violant, J. (2007). Homicide-suicide in police families: Aggression full circle. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 9, 97-104.

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Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New announcement: Mefloquine News Articles

A Clinical Drug Trial Gone Wrong and the Unfinished Business of the Somalia Affair
https://imvalliance.org/2016/07/18/a-clinical-drug-trial-gone-wrong-and-the-unfinished-business-of-the-somalia-affair/

Top military physician skeptical about toxicity of malaria medication
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/top-military-physician-skeptical-about-toxicity-of-malaria-medication/article32920959/

Malaria drug's effect on troops should be examined: Somalia inquiry head
https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/malaria-drugs-effect-on-troops-should-be-examined-somalia-inquiry-head-says/article32881571/?ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.com&cmpid=rss1&click=sf_globe&service=mobile

Defence Minister puts onus on troops while defending use of harmful malaria drug
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/sajjan-puts-onus-on-troops-while-defending-use-of-harmful-malaria-drug/article32846896/

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Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.

New announcement: Ottawa promises to overhaul mental-health services for military

Ottawa promises to overhaul mental-health services for military

Les Perreaux AND Renata D'Aliesio

MONTREAL and TORONTO — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 9:26PM EST

Last updated Friday, Nov. 18, 2016 10:49AM EST

CHECK THIS LINK AS THERE IS VIDEO
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/ottawa-prepares-to-overhaul-mental-health-services-for-military/article32919472/?utm_medium=Referrer%3A+Social+Network+%2F+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

A year Ago: Defence Minister vows to prioritize mental health of soldiers at every stage http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/defence-minister-vows-to-prioritize-mental-health-of-forces-at-every-stage/article27348814/

This article is part of The Unremembered, a Globe and Mail investigation into soldiers and veterans who died by suicide after deployment during the Afghanistan mission.

The mental-health system for treating military personnel and veterans will undergo a sweeping overhaul to better care for them from boot camp through their retirement years, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has revealed.

Top-ranking officials in Defence and Veterans Affairs are looking at "creating a new structure that's going to not just look after the veteran at the end but start with keeping our soldiers healthy when they're in the military," Mr. Sajjan said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

The minister was not prepared to go into detail on what the overhaul will look like, but he did say he hopes to have a detailed plan in place in 2017. The Trudeau government promised a joint suicide-prevention strategy for veterans and soldiers when it came to office last year after a Globe investigation revealed 54 Afghanistan war vets took their own lives. That toll is now up to 71.

Read more: Remembering 31 Canadian Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide

Read more: Suicide toll reveals how system failed Canada's soldiers and veterans

Critics have long complained of a major gap in services between the Canadian Armed Forces and civilian life where veterans mainly rely on patchwork provincial systems and where Veterans Affairs falls out of contact with the majority of retired soldiers. Many soldiers and veterans have also criticized the slow pace of reform.

A Globe investigation this month into 31 of the 71 confirmed suicide cases of soldiers who served in Afghanistan shed new light on some of those failings. Their families reported incomplete screening, delayed care, ineffective treatment and insufficient support. Most soldiers also expressed dread at the prospect of leaving the military before they died. The 31 accounts are the most comprehensive public record of Canada's Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide.

About 27 per cent of veterans face financial, employment, mental or physical health issues when they leave the Canadian Armed Forces, according to Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr. "We are setting up our department to chip away at that number by giving them a road map when they leave the Canadian Armed Forces to find their new normal," he said in an interview.

Mr. Hehr doesn't see the creation of any new structure from his side, however, suggesting a more gradual approach boosting Veterans Affairs involvement when military personnel depart the armed forces. "We'll work with existing structures to have a real closing of the seams," he said.

Mr. Sajjan seems intent on a bolder plan, including a long-awaited overhaul of the Joint Personnel Support Unit that was established in 2008 and was meant to help soldiers recover from physical and psychological wounds and ease transition out of the military.

Many former soldiers and their families describe it as little more than a way stop on their way out. The recent Globe investigation showed eight of 31 suicide cases were attached to JPSUs. On Nov. 12, a ninth soldier whose last post was at the JPSU killed himself, the Globe has confirmed.

"I would not call it a failure," Mr. Sajjan said. "When it was created it met the need it was trying to meet. But it needs to evolve. We're looking at the entire system and how the JPSU is structured is going to be part of it."

Retired sergeant-major Barry Westholm, who quit the Eastern Ontario JPSU and the Forces in 2013 because of chronic staffing shortages and insufficient training, said reviews of the unit are taking too long and no tangible improvements have yet been made, despite repeated pledges to fix the broken soldier-support system. He noted long-standing problems at the JPSU have caused a lot of heartache.

"They're releasing these poor people in terrible states knowingly and causing, I believe, ultimately suicides," said Mr. Westholm, who was a founding member of the JPSU. He joined the casualty support unit in 2009 because he believed in the concept and wanted to help battered soldiers returning from Afghanistan. He still believes in the JPSU, but said significant improvements are desperately needed to help ill and wounded military members.

"We knew in short order the troubles that the unit faced," said Mr. Westholm, who spoke about the JPSU before the Veterans Affairs Committee this past May. "We knew by 2010 we were in trouble. And the entire time, between now and then, it's been the same. No change. They have just been dragging their feet, for whatever reason. I would really love to know the reason."

Both ministers insisted they feel a sense of urgency to fill cracks in the system between military and civilian life. Mr. Hehr would like to reinforce new initiatives such as including Veterans Affairs staff in the military release process and conducting exit interviews with soldiers.

Mr. Sajjan, a former soldier who served three times in Afghanistan, suggests more expansive measures.

A wounded soldier "leaves and then goes on to Veterans Affairs to deal with the file and [the veteran] has to convince Veterans Affairs of what actually happened," Mr. Sajjan said.

"That piece is going to be sorted out. … It can't just be remaking the way the system was."

If you would like your relative included in the commemoration project of Afghanistan war veterans lost to suicide, please e-mail remember@globeandmail.com

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Regards,
The The Canadian Veterans Advocacy - One Veteran, One Standard Team.