Concluding remarks

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.