Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2021) Final report to the Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 07 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2021). Final report to the Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/independent-review-past-defence-veterans-suicides
Final report to the Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 29 September 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/independent-review-past-defence-veterans-suicides
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Final report to the Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2021 [cited 2022 Jul. 7]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/independent-review-past-defence-veterans-suicides
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2021, Final report to the Independent Review of Past Defence and Veteran Suicides, viewed 7 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/independent-review-past-defence-veterans-suicides
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In this final report, the analysis explored trends, and potential risk and protective factors for ADF members who died by suicide, including military service and ex-serving ADF members’ post-service experience.
Suicide rates for ADF members who died by suicide differed by service status, demographic factors, rank, and separation reason and time since separation from the ADF.
After adjusting for age differences, the suicide rate was lower for serving and reserve males compared with the Australian male population. However, the suicide rate was higher for ex‑serving males and females compared with Australian males and females.
Officers had a lower rate of suicide than the general enlistees. The suicide rate was lower for ex-serving males with 10 or more years of service compared with the ex-serving males with less than 1 year of service. Ex‑serving males who separated for other involuntary reasons or voluntarily were less likely to die by suicide than those who separated for medical reasons .
Psychosocial risk factors were used to characterise social processes surrounding suicide for ADF members. Key suicide risk factors which were indicative of circumstances related to the risk of death by suicide included self-harm, family disruption through separation and divorce, and relationship problems which were similar for the Australian population.
Health services accessed by ADF members who died by suicide were similar to the Australian population. The proportion of ex‑serving males and females who used Medicare‑subsidised or DVA-funded health services in the year before death was similar to Australian males and females who died by suicide.
The majority of ex-serving ADF members who died by suicide were dispensed at least one medication in the year before death. Females were more likely to be dispensed mental health-related medications in the year before death compared to males. This pattern can be observed in both the ex-serving and Australian population. Ex‑serving ADF members who separated voluntarily, and involuntarily for other reasons were less likely to have been dispensed a mental health-related medication in the year before death compared to those who separated involuntarily for medical reasons.
If you need help or support, please contact:
Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling 1800 011 046
Open Arms Suicide Intervention page
Defence All-hours Support Line (ASL) 1800 628 036
Defence Member and Family Helpline 1800 624 608
Defence Chaplaincy Support 1300 333 362
ADF Mental Health Services
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 22 4636
For information on support provided by DVA, see:
Some readers may find parts of this content confronting or distressing.
Caution: Some readers may find parts of this content confronting or distressing.
Please carefully consider your needs when reading the following information about suicide. This report contains information on numbers and rates of death, method of suicide and risk factors (including suicide ideation and self-harm). This report may be distressing to some readers.
If this material raises concerns for you, support is available. Please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or Defence All-hours Support Line on 1800 628 036, or Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling, available free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or see other ways you can seek help.
The information included here places an emphasis on data, and as such, can appear to depersonalise the pain and loss behind the statistics. The AIHW acknowledges the individuals, families and communities affected by ADF member and veteran suicide each year in Australia.
The AIHW supports the use of the Mindframe guidelines on responsible, accurate and safe suicide and self-harm reporting. Please consider these guidelines when reporting on statistics on the monitoring of suicide and self-harm.
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