The health and wellbeing of Australia’s veteran community has been highlighted in the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) review: Australia’s health 2018.
The AIHW review highlighted the rising rates of suicide among ex-service personnel from across the ADF, with particular focus on men when contrasted with the broader Australian population.
The review shows that between 2001 and 2015 there were 325 deaths among people with at least one day of ADF service since 2001. Of these, 51 per cent (166) were ex-service personnel at the time of their death, 28 per cent (90) were serving full-time and 21 per cent (69) were reservist personnel.
In particular, the review shows that the suicide rate for ex-service personnel, particularly men, was:
- 1.2 times as high as the rate of men in the broader Australian population - however, after adjusting for age, the rates are similar; the result is still of interest when considered in the context of the lower all-cause mortality rate in ex-serving men compared with the broader Australian male population;
- 1.7 times as high for men aged 18-29 compared with all men of the same age;
- More than twice as high for men serving full-time or in the reserves; and
- For ex-servicemen between 18 and 29, the suicide rate was around three times as high as for men of the same age serving full-time or in the reserves.
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) and AIHW have established a three-year strategic partnership from 2017-2020 to build a comprehensive profile and understanding of the complex health and welfare of Australia's veterans, including current and ex-service personnel, their families and carers.
Further information regarding veterans health and welfare is available here.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.