There is ongoing concern within the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the wider Australian community about suicide in serving and ex-serving ADF personnel. In particular, ex-serving ADF personnel may face increased risk of suicide.
Recent government inquiries have highlighted the need to improve the integration of service responses to meet the health and wellbeing needs of serving and ex-serving ADF personnel (JSCFADT 2015). The need to invest in prevention and early intervention strategies to improve health and wellbeing outcomes for these groups has also been highlighted. The Government has introduced further suicide prevention and mental health support services for serving and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families (AG 2017).
In response to concerns about suicide amongst serving and ex-serving ADF personnel, the AIHW is commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to report the number and rate of suicide deaths in three ADF service status groups—personnel serving full time, personnel serving in the reserves, and ex-serving personnel (see Box 1).