Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A tribute to Sgt. Paul Martin, who took his life in September 2011 while struggling with PTSD, is displayed in his family’s home in New Brunswick.

Michelle Siu/The Globe and Mail

To read the story behind the Globe's unprecedented, far-reaching investigation into soldier suicides, please click here.

When The Globe and Mail reported the suicides of 54 former and active Armed Forces members who served in the Afghanistan mission, the figure was reached without the co-operation of the Department of National Defence. On the contrary, DND officials seemed determined to keep this terrible toll out of sight.

A door kept tightly closed has now opened slightly. DND officials have revealed that the actual number of suicides is 59, and that four active service members killed themselves this year. As well, the DND now admits that, of the 158 Armed Forces members killed in Afghanistan, six were suicides.

Story continues below advertisement

The body count is growing, and it is more evident than ever that the DND and Veterans Affairs aren't doing enough to help members suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, the combat-related anxiety disorder believed to be a leading cause of suicide.

At least now the government admits there's a problem. That's a first step. As we wrote on Tuesday, that acknowledgment should extend to Ottawa giving military honours to soldiers diagnosed with PTSD who commit suicide – the same honours that would go to any soldier who died from his or her battle wounds.

But more critically, there must be increased efforts to prevent combat veterans from reaching that awful abyss. It's become clear that cutbacks have left the Armed Forces without adequate resources to help members suffering from PTSD. In particular, the military has ignored internal recommendations to expand addictions programs, even though nearly six in 10 soldiers who died by suicide in recent years were dependent on alcohol or drugs.

Better rehab, better tracking and better communication between the DND and Veterans' Affairs are all needed. As well, the Armed Forces should soften its "universality-of-service" policy, under which members suffering from PTSD can be summarily discharged, leaving them adrift and more despondent than ever.

The new Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, is a decorated lieutenant-colonel with combat experience in Afghanistan. As well, his government pledged new money and resources during the election campaign for veterans suffering from PTSD. Mr. Sajjan must make this issue one of his first priorities.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies