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Review of suicide prevention services for defence force members and veterans

11 August 2016

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, announced today the National Mental Health Commission will undertake a review of suicide and self-harm prevention services available to Australian Defence Force Personnel members and veterans.  The Commission will examine the effectiveness of these services in supporting mental wellbeing and preventing self-harm and suicide. It will be supported by an expert panel of current and former members of Defence. 

The Government also announced today the establishment of the first Suicide prevention Trial Site in North Queensland.  Home to a large veteran community, this site will be coordinated by the North Queensland Primary Health Network and will have a focus on veteran’s mental health.  Twelve trial sites will be funded by the Government to drive a national approach to suicide prevention.

Suicide is a leading cause of death in Australia.  Data released this year indicates that death by suicide has continued an upward trend and is at the highest rate in ten years. The Senate Report into Mental health of Australian Defence Force members and veterans, shows that since 2000, 108 ADF personnel are suspected or confirmed to have died as a result of suicide, of which 47 had been previously deployed.

While suicide is an issue broader than mental health alone, suicide prevention remains a critically important issue for the Commission, Governments and the community.

The Commission recently established the Australian Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention which will work with stakeholders to shape advice for governments to improve outcomes in suicide prevention, including care after a suicide attempt. 

"Even the most disadvantaged Australians should be able to lead a 'contributing life,' whatever that means for them and this simple goal will be our touchstone and yardstick."

Chair Prof Allan Fels AO
National Mental Health Commission

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