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Spike in Afghanistan related suicides may be receding: military report


OTTAWA – The Canadian military says there is reason to believe a spike in suicides among those who fought in Afghanistan and elsewhere is starting to subside.

The note of cautious optimism is contained in a new report from the military’s top medical officer, Brig.-Gen Andrew Downes, as part of an ongoing analysis of suicide rates among those in uniform. Military researchers specifically found that between 2015 and 2017, service members who deployed on overseas missions appeared to be less likely to take their own lives than those who had not deployed.

That stands in stark contrast to the pattern during the decade between 2005 and 2014, when the opposite was found, though the researchers cautioned that the findings were not conclusive.

The researchers also continued to warn that full-time male soldiers in the army remain at greater risk of taking their own lives than counterparts in the navy, air force and general public.

More than 155 active service members have taken their own lives since 2010, which nearly equals the 158 killed while serving in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.

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