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Hey Canadians! The RCMP Knows When You Are Suicidal — And Tells the U.S.

Last week, I wrote about how Canadian Ellen Richardson, who suffers from bouts of depression, was barred from entering the U.S. One of the outstanding question raised about that story was how U.S. customs agents were accessing Canadians’ suicide attempts and hospitalization records. A senior official for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency told me that they only have access to criminal and police databases, from a mutual sharing arrangement with Canada.

Well, it appears the Canadian RCMP are the ones to blame. Because for years now, the RCMP has been putting information about Canadians who attempt or even just threaten suicide into a national law enforcement database called the CPIC. Which is then shared with U.S. customs and law enforcement agencies.

Why would the RCMP want to keep track of those who threaten suicide in a law enforcement database? Is this just another example of the police discriminating against people with mental illness?

12 Comments to
Hey Canadians! The RCMP Knows When You Are Suicidal — And Tells the U.S.

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  1. Dr G, sorry to disagree, but, with the rise in murder suicides at least here in the US these past 10 or more year, it is a trend that cannot be ignored. Not the way the Canadians are handling it, but, it is an issue that has to be looked at differently now than how we as providers handled it prior. Just my opinion.

    • I’m sorry Dr. Hassman, but what is the actual rate of suicide-murders that you speak of? What percentage of murders does this number represent of all murders in the U.S.??

      We should not focus on anomalies in the data to inform policy. We should not use discrimination or prejudice to justify unjust policies.

      A Canadian who had a suicidal thought a couple of years ago is no threat to Americans or our country.

      • I do not support governments having lists of who has what illness or problem that is none of government’s business in the first place, but, I guess I should make the point more specific: it should be rote clinical care to make sure one is asked not only if there are suicidal thoughts, but inquire into homicidal thoughts as well, and press for the latter if the patient notes suicidal thoughts with much agitation.

        I don’t have the statistics to what are murder-suicide incidents, but you would argue there is not a rise in the incidence these past 10 years? So, what is being reacted to by politicians, perhaps to score points with voters moreso than provide actual concern and intervention to minimize these incidents occur further, is to give the illusion government is trying to intervene?

        Bringing attention to this matter is valid and appreciated, but what can be done by mental health care to try to impact as best we can do for society? Frankly, I think this validates my hypothesis that the shootings are giving false but pervasive support to try to discriminate and ostracize people with mental health problems.

        Keep up the posts!

  2. Well isn’t that just peachy. Another example of our government stepping beyond the limits.

    Pierre Trudeau – a long time ago Prime Minister made a statement – What happens in the bedroom of Canadians is none of the government’s business – something like that. He should have included what goes on in the brains of Canadians is not the business of the government either – or the rest of the world.

  3. In the event that a subject is incarcerated by the police, it is important to know if he/she has a history of suicide. That way, extra precautions are in place to monitor prisoners until they are released.

    • If a person is arrested, a full background check can be run at that time.

      This should not be a part of a standard transaction between two friendly countries. Two countries where, btw, you could freely walk across the border just 10 years ago unaccosted with simply your driver’s license.

  4. I face that same discrimination on a smaller scale. I am far from alone.

  5. There are positive and negative apects with this matter, a poitive is that identifying individuals COULD enure that the RCMP in western Canada know who has problems which might reduce the need for deadly force. But first the officers need to read background info. Again financial costs – what a fiascoe the long gun registry was, costing 1 or 2 billion of course grossly inflated when Harper complied with Alberta gun owners to eliminate a solid tool. That would have been useful to all law enforcement agencies where as this new listing will be used by few. Acknowledged is the Force is streched to limits now why add another unit? Names once on the list hard to remove, a one time incident results in that person being identified for life, and a CPIC used for employment background checks reveals a period in a person’s life that impacts forever. Cross border concernd far less significant than the eternal black mark on an individual’s personal info. accessible at anytime, by anyone and becomes public knowledge.

  6. I understand everyones concern about personal information being out there, I also understand about the stigma of any type of mental illness, and you are correct if you think it still exists. I had a mentally ill family member and it is there forever.

    The only thing I can say about this one particular case is that this woman was a danger to someone else. She was pregnant and if she succeeded at killing herself probably that baby would die with her, unless she was gotten to a hospital very, very quickly. Perhaps that is something that would be easier dealt with in your own homeland.I think the government was trying to save a baby’s life.

  7. Minority Report here we come. Dumb movie at the time, but ten yrs later or so and that movie is reality today.

  8. I have suffered from Depression for 20 years and had a suicide attempt. I work for a US company here in Canada but will have to attend seminars in the US. How do I know if I am on this list prior to going to prevent embarrassment?

    Is there a public list to review?

  9. I have a question about the law regarding suicidal “thoughts”.
    How can a person seek help if the RCMP are allowed to use force, to enter their home?
    I know my father feels intimidated by police using force and would avoid letting this happen? This prevents him from contacting the help line to discuss getting “help”.
    Do you have advice or a comment?
    Thank you for providing this forum and information, from “real” people. I do appreciate your thoughts on the issue of suicide.



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