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CHAPTER 21

SUICIDE PREVENTION: THREATENED, ATTEMPTED, OR COMPLETED


SUICIDE
References: A. CFAO 19-44 Suicide Prevention
B. DAOD 5017-0 Mental Health
C. CANFORGEN 133/11 CF Mental Fitness and Suicide Awareness Training
D. CDA SOI 201 Crises/Significant Incident Management
21.01

SUICIDE PREVENTION: THREATENED, ATTEMPTED, OR COMPLETED


SUICIDE

1.

Purpose. The purpose of this CSO:

2.

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a.

RMCC is committed to promoting and safeguarding the mental health of its


members thereby better reducing the incidence of suicide and attempted suicide to
the lowest possible level. All signs or indications of suicide must be taken
seriously and dealt with appropriately.

b.

this standing order outlines the policy, responsibilities and procedures for suicide
prevention and intervention within RMCC.

c.

unless otherwise directed by the Commandant, the Senior Chaplain assisted by the
College Administration Officer is the College OPI for this policy, and to
coordinate general awareness and intervention skills training.

Guiding Principles.
a.

CFAO 19-44 states: The goals of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) suicide
policy are to reduce the incidence of suicide and attempted suicide to the lowest
possible level, and to provide an immediate means for assisting a member who
has attempted suicide or, in the event of a suicide, to assist bereaved family
members, friends and co-workers.

b.

RMCC will endeavor to do all that can be reasonably expected to prevent an


individual from engaging in suicidal behaviors.

c.

members of the Defence Community have a responsibility to intervene to protect


individuals from imminent harm, including self-harm.

d.

when an individual discloses suicidal thoughts or there is reason to believe that


the individual is at risk for suicide or self-harm, the normal requirements of
confidentiality are no longer applicable.

e.

all information related to suicide risk shall be shared with relevant professionals,
Chain of Command and emergency POC, to be used solely for the purpose of
keeping the individual at perceived risk alive and safe.

f.

PAG may develop its own procedures as long as it follows the intent of this
overarching policy. (see annex B)

g.

the Duty Field Officer (DFO) shall engage the Military Police as soon as possible
and call 911 for any cases that are deemed imminent (The DFO shall delegate
these most important functions when directly engaged).

21.02. Threatened Suicide.


1.
This situation is defined as physical harm has not occurred, but there is a potential.
Once an individual has been identified as having suicidal thoughts or ideations, the initial contact
person (Chaplain, PAG, Faculty member, Chain of Command, Medical personnel etc.) shall
engage the system as outlined below.
2.
By definition, there may be very few indications suggesting that a risk exists. As such, it
is important that members of the Defence Community remain current on the ASSIST training
and/or Mental Fitness and Suicide Awareness training provided by PSP.
a.

High-Risk
Indicators of HIGH/IMMINENT RISK

By definition, there are many/clear indications based on the following characteristics,


which can be easily/rapidly recognized:
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recent crisis or loss


symptoms of depression (e.g. sleep and appetite disturbances, diminished
concentration, loss of interest and energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness)
high level of agitation
delusions or hallucinations
substance use
excessive use of alcohol
specific and/or persistent thoughts of suicide
has a plan for suicide
has access to the means for suicide
expresses a wish to die
known previous attempts
little interpersonal support
hopelessness
impulsivity
unwilling to seek or receive further help

Action
During Duty Hours:

Call the CDU 3 (613) 541-6000 x 3232 explain situation, and follow their
directions. Ensure that someone remains with the individual at all times;

If the individual is at risk to harm him/herself, IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, remove


any potentially harmful objects from the individuals environment;

Contact the C-of-C and/or the Chaplain and convey the necessary information;

In the event that an individual requires an escort to CDU 3 or KGH, they will be
taken by either a Chaplain or the C-of-C. If it is deemed necessary, or if the
individual requests to have an additional escort, the Chaplain or C-of-C will
engage PAG; and,

Confirm whether the individual has personal firearms stored with the MP section
on base, and if so block their release.

After Duty Hours:

Ensure someone stays with the individual at all times;

If the individual is about to harm themself, IF IT IS SAFE TO DO SO, remove


any objects and any other potentially harmful objects from the locations;

Have someone call the numbers in the following priority. Ensure he/she explains
the situation and indicates where to find the individual; and,

Confirm whether the individual has personal firearms stored with the MP section
on base, and if so block their release.
DFO cell phone:
Military Police

b.

(613) 453-5007
911

Low Risk Suicide


Indicators of Low/Moderate Risk
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recent crisis or loss


symptoms of depression (e.g. sleep and appetite disturbances, diminished
concentration, loss of interest and energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness)

infrequent, vague or no thoughts of suicide


no specific plans for suicide
no access to the means for suicide
no known previous attempts
has some interpersonal support
evidence of hope or plans for the future

If initial assessment suggests LOW or MEDIUM RISK, proceed as follows:

Stay and listen to the individual as long as they want to talk;

Do not leave the individual alone. Engage the help of other trained
individuals (PAG, Chaplains, CDU3, C-o-C etc.) if necessary; and,

Attempt to obtain the individuals permission to consult with CDU3, the


Chaplains, PAG and/or chain of command. Ensure that appropriate follow up
occurs.

21.03. Attempted Suicide.


1.

This situation is defined as physical harm has occurred or been narrowly avoided.
Action
if the individual has injured themselves or if the individual has swallowed any
substances (or has attempted to do the above) this shall be treated as a medical
emergency and the individual shall be immediately transported to KGH.

Call 911 for an ambulance to transport the individual to hospital; and

Stay with the individual and apply First Aid.

Once the individual is safe and under medical care, the DFO shall be contacted
with details of the incident, including to which hospital the injured member is
being transported and the nature of injuries.
2.
Return to RMCC. If an individual has been admitted to hospital because they made a
suicide attempt or have been considered a serious risk for making an attempt, once discharged
from hospital they shall immediately notify their Chain of Command and report
to CDU 3.
3.
CDU 3 will do a thorough clinical assessment. If the individual is a student, CDU 3 will
ascertain whether the student can continue with their studies and return to residence (where
applicable) without interruption, subject to particular conditions (e.g. weekly counseling
sessions) the student may be placed on sick leave.
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4.
If an individual is not admitted or has been discharged and RMCC remains concerned,
the close observation team/watch shall be implemented under the guidance of the Chaplain. At
the next available opportunity, i.e. the next sick parade, the individual shall be escorted by the
senior watch team member, C-of-C, or Chaplain to CDU 3 for follow up.
21.04. Completed Suicide.
1.

In the case when an individual ends his or her life,


a.
The Chain of Command shall immediately be engaged as this is
considered - CCIR#1;
The Duty Chaplain shall be informed;
The Adjt and COS shall be notified; and
The PAO shall be notified (due to possible/probable CCIR#7).
b.

Protocol shall be followed to notify NOK.

c.

the Chaplains office will liaise with PAGs Supervising Officer, and they
(Chaplains and PAG) will be available to offer counseling to Cadets and staff
affected by the death.

Annexes:
Annex A
Annex B
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DFO Manual - Annex Q


PAG Suicide Intervention Response