Here are some findings of their reports and findings from data these experts used for their Report...
1. Women veterans deaths by suicide are higher than male veterans
- 1.42 times higher for male Veterans (compare to the general male population).
- 2.5 times higher for female Veterans (compare to the general female population)
2. Over their lifetime, military women think, plan and attempt suicide more than military men
- Suicidal ideation among women military personnel is still 23% higher (women 18.4% men 14.9%)
- Suicide plan among women military personnel is still 14% higher (women 6.7%, men 5.9%)
- Suicide attempts among women military personnel are still double (women 5.4%, men 2.6%)
3. Over a year time-frame, military women think, plan and attempt suicide as much as men
4. Yet, despite all these previous data, the 2017 Suicide prevention in the Canadian Armed Forces paper chose to exclude military women from their research.
What was the reason given to not pay attention to the much higher rate of female suicide ideation, plan and attempts? “The number of reported attempts cannot be used as statistical rates of attempted suicide.”
What was the reason given to not pay attention to the much higher rate of female veteran’s suicide? None. I am guessing they choose, conveniently, to only focus on the one element were men soldiers are at higher risk: suicide while serving in the CAF.
5. Of course, none of the research used by the Expert panel looked into Military Sexual trauma…
Deployments, combat exposures, peacekeeping operations, stigma, child abuse, physical health, access to care, incarcerated veterans, resilience, household income, mental disorders, mental illness, psychiatric illness (borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality, Anxiety and depression, posttraumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders), exposure to a suicide, regions with high suicide rates, first nations, school suicide prevention for youth, psychiatric hospitalization, substance abuse (opioid overdose, cocaine dependence), Families, late-life suicidality, work reintegration, mild traumatic brain injury, in-theater care prior to deployment, physical disorders, pharmacological treatments , self-confidence and easy access to weapons.
Sceptical? Look at the 78 references (they are listed in the last page of the Report).
6. Conclusions of the panel?
- women veterans death by suicide is higher than male veterans
- over their lifetime, military women think, plan and attempt suicide more than military men; and
- over a year time-frame, military women think, plan and attempt suicide as much as men
7. Recommendations of the Expert Panel?
Never underestimate the power of denial.
*On a positive note: Out of the 15 panel members, seven were women (good job diversity!).
Here are my findings!
- ONLY 7% of the respondents say they got treated and were able to stay in the CAF and continue their career after reporting a Military sexual assault/harassment.
Here are my questions...
- Are the CFHS focus and these medical reporting norms good enough for the CAF?
- Are these types of medical reporting norms and focus helping our hurting Op Honour mission?
Here is my conclusion
Clearly more needs to be done to support specifically women's health issues and to help retaining women.
To avoid these ''Faux pas'' in the future, may I suggest the following?
- Get an agenda adviser on board to monitor this type of research to ensure not gender biais gets in the way of real progress in care.
- Have a patient advocate on such panels.
- Build a strategy for a better gender responsiveness from the CFHS and don't expect Surgeon Generals to self regulate. Create some kind of accountability.