The Government will make the development of strategies
to support former members of the Australian Defence
Force who are under 30 and have recently left the
military a priority.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan and Minister for Health
Greg Hunt said today targeting suicide among former ADF
who were under 30 was a priority recommendation of the
National Mental Health Commission (NMHC) Review into
the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Services Available
to current and former serving ADF members and their
families, which was provided to the Government on
Tuesday and released publicly today.
Former ADF members under 30 had been identified in
the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW)
study Estimation of incidence of suicide in
ex-serving Australian Defence Force personnel as a
group with a suicide rate above the national average.
Mr Tehan said he had also tasked the Department of
Defence and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to
respond to the review.
Mr Tehan will also work with both departments to
address issues raised in the review, specifically how
both departments can work more closely together.
“The NMHC has produced a comprehensive document that
identifies strengths and weaknesses in the suicide
prevention services provided to current and former
members of the ADF,” Mr Tehan said.
“The review found the ADF and DVA must work
collaboratively to ensure their respective processes are
seamless and continuous and we will focus on delivering
Minister Hunt said the Review will be considered in
the roll out of 12 suicide prevention trial sites around
“This includes the suicide prevention trial site in
the Townsville region – which will have a strong focus
on support for ex-ADF personnel, in particular for the
under-30 age group,” Mr Hunt said.
“Today I can announce that retired 3-star general –
Lieutenant General John Caligari – will lead the
Veterans Suicide Prevention Project Steering committee.”
“The Turnbull Government will provide $3 million over
three years to the Northern Queensland PHN to conduct
the trial and commission services.”
“As part of the trial, Project Synergy will work with
the PHN to develop tailored digital mental health
solutions, as part of the Turnbull Government’s $30
million investment in e-mental health.”
National Mental Health Commission CEO Dr Peggy Brown
will meet personally with the PHN and steering committee
next week to discuss the findings and recommendations of
“The review highlights the importance of the human
experience when dealing with Defence and DVA and we must
continue to deliver better support to the families of
current and former ADF personnel,” Mr Hunt said.
All serving ADF members can access mental health
services through their on base health facilities.
Defence and the Veterans and Veterans Families
Counselling Service (VVCS) also offer 24/7 specialist
support to current and former ADF members and their
families. The ADF All-Hours Support Line is available on
1800 628 036 and VVCS is available on 1800 011 046.
Anyone who has ever served one day in the full-time
ADF can access free treatment for post-traumatic stress
disorder, depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance
abuse by calling the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on
1800 555 254 or emailing NLHC@dva.gov.au.