AUSTRALIA: Suicide Rate among Defense Veterans Far Higher Than for Those Currently Serving

April 07, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The Guardian

A recent report found that current-serving members of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) have lower suicide rates, and former-serving members have higher suicide rates, than the general population. The report was released by the Australian National Mental Health Commission, which conducted a review of suicide prevention services available to current and former ADF members. It found that respondents were able to access a variety of services, with the majority reporting that their experiences were adequate. However, the review also found that some members were unaware of the services available or encountered barriers accessing them. The Commission said that further investigation was required to determine the factors that place former service members at greater risk for suicide than current members. It also recommended that the ADF provide personnel with more preparation before, and support services after, discharge. Commission Chief Executive Peggy Brown said that barriers to accessing services should be addressed, such as the negative bias associated with mental health issues and the view that seeking mental health treatment could have a negative effect on career advancement.

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