January 20th, 2014

Prime Minister must make soldiers’ mental health needs a priority

Another member of the Canadian Forces has died in an apparent suicide – the eighth in just over two months – another sad reminder that the Conservative government’s efforts and investments in mental health services for the Armed Forces are insufficient.

“Let’s be clear – every suicide is one too many. New Democrats extend their deepest condolences to the family of Lieut.-Col. Stephane Beauchemin,” said NDP National Defence critic Jack Harris (St. John’s East). “We must do more to facilitate access to mental health services for these men and women who serve our country and due to post-traumatic stress see no other solution but to commit this act out of desperation.”

Earlier this month, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair urged the prime minister to make this issue a priority in order to adequately address the mental health needs of Canadian Forces members. The NDP also called for an acceleration of the investigation process for suicides within the military, some of which have been pending for five years.

“Grieving families deserve answers and these investigations can help us learn from these cases and prevent them from happening again. We must do everything we can to understand our systems’ shortcomings to put an end to this crisis,” added deputy critic Élaine Michaud (Portneuf – Jacques-Cartier).