New report confirms veterans at greater risk of suicide

Male veterans are 21 per cent more likely to die by suicide than the general population and female veterans are more than twice as likely. Picture: Defence Department
Male veterans are 21 per cent more likely to die by suicide than the general population and female veterans are more than twice as likely. Picture: Defence Department

Male veterans are 21 per cent more likely to die by suicide than men generally and the rate of suicide among ex-serving women is twice as high as among women in general, a new report shows.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare released its 2020 update monitoring suicide among current and former military personnel on Friday.

The report found that men currently serving in the armed forces full-time or in the reserves were considerably less likely to die by suicide than men in general.

But among ex-serving men the figure jumped considerably to be 21 per cent more likely than among Australian men in general, at 28 deaths per 100,000.

The rate of suicide among currently serving men and reserves was 11 and 12 deaths per 100,000 respectively.

While the rate of suicide among ex-serving women was lower than for men, it was more than twice as high than for women in the general population.

The report also found that men who were discharged for medical reasons were more likely to die by suicide than men who discharged voluntarily.

Men who discharged from the defence force voluntarily experienced similar rates of suicide as men in general.

AIHW spokeswoman Louise Gates said the findings would "inform improvements in suicide prevention and other services for serving and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families."

"Further work is under way by the AIHW to build a comprehensive profile of the health and welfare of Australia's veterans, including those currently and no longer serving, as well as their families and carers."

There were 465 suicide deaths of current and recently discharged defence force personnel in Australia between 2001 and 2018.

If any veterans and their family require support they can contact:

Open Arms - Veterans and Families Counselling: 1800 011 046

ADF all hours support: 1800 628 036

Anyone who feels they require support can contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636

This story Veterans at greater risk of suicide: report first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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