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16 Canadian Armed Forces members died by suicide in 2020, military says

Click to play video: 'Military Families push for more mental health support' Military Families push for more mental health support
WATCH: Military Families push for more mental health support – Nov 9, 2017

The Canadian Armed Forces says 16 service members took their own lives last year.

That represents a slight decline from the 20 military suicides reported in 2019, which was the largest number in five years.

The new figures nonetheless bring the total number of Canadian military personnel who have died by suicide over the last decade to 191. That is more than the 158 service members who were killed while serving in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.

Read more: 15 Canadian Forces members died by suicide last year, despite new prevention strategy

Military commanders have expressed concern about the mental well-being of those in uniform, particularly given the COVID-19 pandemic and a drop in the number of members accessing support services.

Acting defence chief Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre told The Canadian Press last week that he was seeing “cracks” in the military, including among individual troops who have been working overtime during the pandemic.

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A survey of nearly 20,000 Armed Forces members last spring also saw about one-third of troops report that their mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic, but only one in 10 had received some form of care.

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