Stats Can finds one in six soldiers suffer from mental disorders, alcohol abuse

New data from Statistics Canada finds one in six soldiers report symptoms of mental disorders or alcohol abuse.

Of the 6,700 full time soldiers and 1,500 reservists surveyed between April and August 2013, 16.5 per cent reported either Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression or some other disorder.

Many of them had never even been deployed overseas.

Barry Westholm, the director for Canadian Armed Forces Engagement for Canadian Veterans Advocacy told CFRA's Madely in the Morning that number may not actually be reflective.

"I think logic dictates, if they're interviewing people that really have no experience in areas that would cause such a thing, that it would be a best case number," said Westholm. "If a person, for example, is engaged in a garrison and has been there since basic training and hasn't left and was included in the interview, then his chances of having PTSD or mental-related injury are pretty low."

Between late 2013 and now there have been a number of military suicides, highlighting the struggle of Canadian soldiers with PTSD or depression.

Westholm, who is a retired Sgt.-Maj. said the data also fails to include soldiers who were recently released from the military.

"The rate for suicide amongst former military personnel was 48 per cent higher for males and 32 per cent higher for females relative the Canadian civilian population, so we can't really just give those gals and guys a buy," said Westholm. "We have to include them. I think the situation is a lot more dire than that particular document suggests."

The survey also found 8 per cent of full time soldiers reported experiencing major depressive episodes in 2013. Those are defined as lasting two or more weeks.

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