response to the Canadian Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Canada Joint Suicide Prevention Strategy
Why dismiss stats showing higher suicidal behaviours amongst women?
Just because there have been little reported cases of suicide mortality amongst female military personnel or veterans does not mean there is no problem for females as well.
The CMAJ statistics clearly indicate:
Veteran’s suicide: not just a male issue
Death by suicide was 2.5 times higher for female veterans and 1.42 times higher for male veterans than in similar aged Canadians in the general population (Source: 2016 Expert Panel ).
Research and support for female military and veterans is needed!
We all know that the CAF can't go out and make more CAF female deaths so that researchers have the numbers to do the same type of study as is done on the men.
That is why the research about military female suicide prevention cannot be conducted "the same way" as the research conducted for the men.
A DIFFERENT study design that specifically addresses women is required
There are lots of study types that could provide more information about female suicides and can provide tangible answers despite the low numbers of female the CAF and VAC presently have compared to men.
I know this will require more work, more money, but this will allow to get real gender specific answers.
Below are some options and example that can be used:
pool the stats
Complete a retrospective study (go back for as many years as necessary until have the needed numbers of females to do a proper study) for CAF/VA to get around the low number issue.
Prospective or Matched
Conduct a qualitative study to be done specific to serving women, or vets or families of female suicides.. to capture the female specific components of a successful suicide strategy. Its interviews that find the common threads/concerns/issues.
Provide equivalent access to care and programs
Ensure that all resiliency programs, peer support programs, case management support, caring contacts, OSI clinics include greater support for females and for the topic of Military Sexual Trauma (MST).