13 May 2017

The Age Newspaper article 13 May 2017 by David Wroe

…..”When we send people to war, we ask a select group of mostly young Australians to prepare themselves to kill or die to defend the nation. That is at the heart of the challenge of military mental health and suicide. The sense of responsibility, the comradeship, the tough internal culture, the mental preparedness, not to mention the experience of combat, can have lasting effects.

A groundswell of concern is being fuelled by revelations that the suicide rate among veterans aged 18 to 24 is double that of their peers in the general community. Among those aged 25 to 29 it is 1.5 times the national average for their age. Those figures, from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare from November, are based on a tally of 292 certified suicides between 2001 and 2014. This total is regarded as conservative by most veterans groups, some of which counted between 70 and 80 military suicides last year alone.”

“For every suicide there are many more veterans of the Afghanistan, Iraq and East Timor era who have plumbed the depths but managed somehow to climb out of the hole and often gone on to form their own groups to help others. Invariably they describe moments that were, in retrospect, turning points but at the time could have gone the other way.”

Read the full article here

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