Two more Afghanistan vets commit suicide
MONTREAL — The Canadian Forces has been rocked by the suicide of two more soldiers as it welcomes back its contingent of troops from Afghanistan.
A source tells QMI Agency that Cpl. Alain Lacasse, from the Royal 22nd Regiment, was found hanging in his home in Sorel-Tracy, Que., east of Montreal, on Monday.
The army is releasing few details but CFB Valcartier, near Quebec City, confirmed Lacasse’s death. He leaves behind two children.
CBC is reporting another soldier, who was based at CFB Petawawa, was found dead on the weekend.
Both dead soldiers served in Afghanistan.
The suicides happened just four months after four Canadian soldiers killed themselves within a week of each other.
At least a dozen soldiers have committed suicide in recent years, triggering a national debate about combat trauma among Canadian troops.
The president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Sorel-Tracy knew Alain Lacasse and said he was surprised to hear about his suicide.
“It took everyone by surprise,” Alain Cayer told QMI Agency. “I know people who spoke to him last week and they didn’t think it was going that badly.”
Cayer speculates that Lacasse never recovered from his last Afghan tour in 2008.
“He still had problems,” said the Legion president. “He wasn’t able to get his Afghanistan mission out of his head.”
The rash of suicides has led critics to accuse the Forces of failing to provide enough treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, but Cayer says soldiers also have a responsibility to seek treatment.
“I went to psychologists to treat my stress,” said Cayer. “Even if there’s help, the soldiers don’t go to get it. When they’re still active, having post-traumatic problems doesn’t look good. I (only) went to see the psychologists after I left the service.”