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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

ADF members and veterans need help every four hours

Australian Defence Force members and veterans have a higher chance of contact with emergency services due to their increased suicide risk.

One veteran or serving member of the Australian Defence Force has suicide-related contact with police or paramedics every four hours.

That's according to new research conducted for the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide by the Queensland Centre for Mental Health Research.

The study revealed current and former members had a 24 per cent higher chance of suicide-related contact than the rest of the population.

The suicide rate in the veteran community remains a national tragedy.

Researchers used data from Queensland and extrapolated the results to get an idea of the situation across Australia.

They found veterans who had contact with emergency services for self harm were more likely to die early from any cause, compared to civilians.

Permanent ADF members were also more likely to make contact compared to veterans and reservists.

The researchers described the findings as "conservative" for several reasons, including because it did not cover those who made contact several times.

Royal Commission Chair Nick Kaldas says the research challenges long-held views on the issue.

The Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide will hand down its findings in September.

"For some time, there was a reluctance to accept that issues of suicide and suicidality were impacting current serving members," he said.

"This research demonstrates there is a clear link between service in the ADF and suicide and suicidality, which was accepted for the first time by military chiefs at our recent Sydney hearing."

Before the royal commission there were some 57 inquiries into suicide in the military and veteran community, however rates have not yet decreased.

"We are determined to be the inquiry that brings about real change," he said.

The commission is due to hand down its findings in September.

It comes as the Victorian Government revealed it will recruit an additional 300 veterans to the public service by June 2025.

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