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Military's response to suicides 'cold comfort' to victims' families

January 13, 2014 - 1:38 PM

OTTAWA - The mother of a soldier who took his own life says the Canadian military's response to the suicide crisis within its ranks is "cold comfort" to families of victims.

Sheila Fynes says mental illness continues to be stigmatized, despite high-profile appeals from the prime minister and the country's defence chief for troops to come forward and deal with their problems.

Months of testimony looking into the circumstances surrounding the 2008 death of her son, Cpl. Stuart Langridge, painted a stark picture of how his depression and substance abuse were treated as a discipline problem, rather than an illness related to his service.

Fynes says she and her husband are in regular contact with Afghan veterans, who call looking for non-judgmental advice — and the conversations have convinced her troops who stick up their hands and ask for help are often treated like "losers and drunks" who had a problem before putting on a uniform.

She says the reflex instinct of the military is to blame the soldier, rather than ask how the individual became so lost.

There have been a string of military suicides over the last three months.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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