Government focus on veteran suicides welcomed

Government focus on veteran suicides welcomed

5 February 2020

Orygen welcomes today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that the Australian Government will appoint a National Commissioner for Defence and Suicide Prevention to investigate veteran suicide.

The Commissioner will have similar powers to that of a royal commission and will investigate more than 400 incidents of service personnel and veterans who have taken their own lives since 2001.

As Orygen and Phoenix Australia highlighted in their report, The Next Post: Young people transitioning from military service and their mental health, since 2001 the highest number of suicide deaths among current and ex-service personnel have occurred in the youth cohort. The report found that rates of mental ill-health in the Australian Defence Force are highest among 18-27 year olds, and the rate of suicide among young male veterans is twice that observed for young Australian men.

Action is required to ensure that younger veterans are receiving the support they need to successfully transition to post-service life. Orygen supports the appointment of the Commissioner as the first step in this process.