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 comes despite the federal government having introduced a suicide-prevention strategy for military members and veterans in 2017.
Military officials quietly published the updated number in January, but did not issue an accompanying report to explain the results or what was being done to address the situation.
Such reports have been regularly published each year since a rash of military suicides first cast a spotlight on the issue in 2013 and led to promises from the government and military commanders to address the problem.
The subsequent suicide-prevention strategy included promises to improve the services and support available to current military members and veterans in the hopes of increasing awareness and reducing the number of suicides in both populations.
The Canadian Armed Forces and Department of National Defence have in recent weeks used social media to repeatedly remind service members to reach out and seek help if needed as the majority self-isolate to ensure they are ready to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.