Australia: Veteran suicide has been labelled a ‘national tragedy’


Following a landmark assessment, the high suicide rate among members of the current and previous Australian Defence Force has been referred to as “a national tragedy.”

Over the course of eight months, a royal commission—Australia’s highest level of public inquiry—interviewed hundreds of people.

The commission’s preliminary report, which was delivered to the government on Thursday, lays bare the government’s failure to appropriately address the plague of lives lost among Australian Defense Force troops.

The 348-page initial findings of the royal inquiry warn that institutional and cultural flaws continue to obstruct efforts to serve veterans.

What did the report from the war veterans reveal?

The royal commission has found individual accounts, like Daniel’s, that detail the experiences and viewpoints of veterans, as well as those of their families, friends, and support systems.

The military force’s ethos, according to the research, discourages serving soldiers from seeking help because they believe doing so could harm their careers.

Matt Keogh, minister of veterans affairs, said there was a definite need for action.

“The rate of veteran suicide in Australia is a national tragedy and it is a rate that is significantly higher than across the general Australian population,” he told reporters.

“It is devastating that Australia has lost more serving and former serving personnel to suicide than it has lost through operations over the last 20 years in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

After a royal commission investigation exposed the failures to address the suicide rate, the minister of veterans’ affairs issued an apology to veterans and active Australian Defense Force soldiers.

(With inputs from agencies)

 

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