Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2020) National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2020 update., AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 30 November 2021
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2020). National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2020 update. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/national-suicide-monitoring-adf-2020
National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2020 update. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 09 October 2020, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/national-suicide-monitoring-adf-2020
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2020 update [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2020 [cited 2021 Nov. 30]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/national-suicide-monitoring-adf-2020
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, National suicide monitoring of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: 2020 update, viewed 30 November 2021, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/veterans/national-suicide-monitoring-adf-2020
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The majority of suicides in serving and ex-serving ADF personnel were among males, reflecting the fact that the study population is predominantly male, as well as a higher suicide rate among ex-serving males (28 per 100,000) compared to ex-serving females (16 per 100,000) between 2002 and 2018.
While the number of females in the ADF is increasing, it has historically been low. The total female serving and reserve population was 17,049 (17%) in 2018. The size of the contemporary female ex-serving cohort is increasing each year, with the number reaching 17,187 in 2018. Each year of data adds to the confidence in the results for female ex-serving ADF personnel.
The age-adjusted rate of suicide for ex-serving females between 2002 and 2018, when compared to the Australian population was 127% (or 2.27 times) higher for ex-serving females, SMR = 2.27 (95% CI = 1.47-3.35).
This difference was statistically significant. Confidence intervals (CI) provide one way to assess the randomness that may occur in the number of suicides over time. The wider confidence interval for the female ex-serving SMR reflects the higher degree of potential variability compared to the male results. More information on confidence intervals is provided in the Technical notes section.
For privacy and statistical reasons relating to the small number of females in the study, suicide rates and SMRs for serving and reserve females and SMRs for ex-serving females by 3-year periods are not reported.
The number of suicides for the 3-year periods between 2001 and 2018 and split by sex is shown in Table 2. Small numbers of female suicides prevent reporting of the number of suicides before 2009-2011. The increase in numbers each period is due at least in part to the increasing size of the study population.
n.p. Not published because of small numbers or confidentiality.
(a) From 2006 onwards, the ABS implemented a revisions process for coroner-certified deaths (such as suicides). This improved data quality by enabling additional deaths by suicide to be identified beyond initial processing (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical notes.
(b) New ABS coding guidelines were applied for deaths registered from 1 January 2007. The new guidelines improve data quality by enabling deaths to be coded to suicide by ABS mortality coders if evidence indicates the death was from intentional self-harm (ABS 2018). For detailed information see Technical notes.
Source: AIHW analysis of linked PMKeyS-NDI data 2001–2018.
If you need help or support, please contact:
Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling 1800 011 046
Open Arms Suicide Intervention page
ADF All-hours Support Line 1800 628 036
Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467
Beyondblue Support Service 1300 22 4636
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