Australia

Stark suicide rates among ex-ADF soldiers

A new report has found young men who have served in the military are at higher risk of suicide. (AAP)

Men discharged from the military for medical reasons, or in ranks other than commissioned officer, are at much higher risk of suicide than their peers.

Young Australian men who have served in the military are at significantly higher risk of suicide than others of the same age, a startling new report has found.

The suicide rate between 2002 and 2015 was 14 per cent higher among ex-servicemen compared to the broader male population, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Men discharged from the Australian Defence Force for medical reasons, or discharged in ranks other than commissioned officer, were at far higher risk of suicide than their peers.

There were 325 certified suicides among people with at least one day of ADF service between 2001 and 2015.

Just over half were former ADF members at the time of their death, while 28 per cent were serving full time and 21 per cent were in the reserves.

The overwhelming majority of suicides identified - 93 per cent or 303 deaths - occurred among men, with the remainder among women.

Given the smaller number of women in the study, the report focused primarily on suicides among men.

Suicide rates among men serving full time and in the ADF were significantly lower than the wider Australian population.

In stark contrast, the suicide rate for ex-serving men was higher than the general population, especially among those aged between 18 and 29.

Suicide rates among ex-serving men were more than twice as high as men serving full time or in the reserves, and more than twice as high as for ex-serving women.

The odds for suicide among those medically discharged were 1.9 times the odds for those who left the ADF voluntarily.

The odds for suicide among those discharged in all ranks other than commissioned officers were 2.2 times higher.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78

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