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Incidence of suicide in serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel: detailed analysis 2001–2015

Veterans Australian Defence Force Defence force personnel Suicide Australia

This report quantifies the level of suicide among serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel and identifies factors that may be associated with suicide risk. For completeness, it includes results of the earlier summary report (AIHW 2017b) alongside the detailed analysis supporting them, including additional analyses by age group and over time. Analysis in the summary report examined each service-related characteristic associated with risk of suicide individually. This report extends on this analysis to use regression modelling to simultaneously measure the impact of age and all other available factors on the likelihood of suicide death in ex-serving men.

This analysis is part of an authoritative study commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on the incidence of suicide among serving and ex-serving ADF personnel. Results will provide a baseline for the ongoing monitoring of suicide rates among these personnel.

Key findings:

Between 2001 and 2015, there were 325 certified suicide deaths among people with at least 1 day of ADF service since 2001. Of these, 51% (166) were ex-serving at the time of their death, 28% (90) were serving full time and 21% (69) were in the reserves.

Men made up 84% of the ADF populations examined in the study. The clear majority of suicide deaths identified (93% or 303 deaths) occurred among men, with 7% (22 deaths) among women. Due to the smaller number of women in the study, detailed analysis on women was not possible. Hence, the report focuses primarily on suicide death among men.

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