‘National tragedy’: Australian report revealing more than 1,200 suicides in the Army in less than 20 years

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Iraq, East Timor and Papua New Guinea veteran David Finney committed suicide in 2019 after waiting months with a psychiatrist to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder. Investigating the case led to the discovery of a hidden drama

Australian soldiers hold military exercise in Queensland (REUTERS/Jason Reed/File)
Australian soldiers hold military exercise in Queensland (REUTERS/Jason Reed/File)

A government commission is investigating the suicide rate in the Australian Defense Force in recent years, described this Thursday as a “national tragedy” by the ocean nation’s Minister for Veterans Affairs, Matt Keogh.

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“It is devastating that Australia has lost more current and former personnel to suicides over the past 20 years than military deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq.” At a press conference in Canberra, Keogh referred to the 49 Australian soldiers killed in these two conflicts. More than 1,200 self-sacrifice from 2001 to 2019.

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The minister’s statements came shortly after the Royal Commission, an independent government body, submitted a 300-page preliminary report on the suicides of Army veterans in ocean country to the Australian Government and Parliament.

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The commission’s report cited data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which determined that between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2019, there were 1,273 suicide deaths among servicemen and veterans who had served at least one day in the Defense Forces since January. 1, 1985.

Australian and New Zealand veterans commemorate ANZAC Day commemorating the joint forces landing in Turkey (REUTERS / Jaimi Joy)
Australian and New Zealand veterans commemorate ANZAC Day commemorating the joint forces landing in Turkey (REUTERS / Jaimi Joy)

“We recognize every service member and former service member who has died by suicide – every life lived and every life left behind,” said Commission Chair Nick Kaldas after presenting the interim report.

One of the reasons presented is the complexity of compensation claims. According to the commission, it may contribute to an increase in the suicide rate among veterans.

According to the report, The system is so complex that it negatively affects the mental health of some veterans, both active and retired, and may be a contributing factor to suicide.” .

The Commission’s thirteen preliminary recommendations include, in addition to the Canberra Executive, speeding up the more than 42,000 applications for financial compensation filed by veterans before May 31, 2024, simplifying procedures and providing support to veterans in need of rehabilitation physical and mental health services.

An Australian soldier in Iraq.  The country has lost fewer soldiers in wars than in suicides in recent decades.
An Australian soldier in Iraq. The country has lost fewer soldiers in wars than in suicides in recent decades.

Commenting on the report of the commission, which was created last year and which plans to hold further hearings before presenting its report, Secretary Keogh said, “I apologize for that from people who feel they are not getting the treatment they deserve.” Final report in 2024.

The commission began its work following a national debate over the suicide of David Finney, the late non-commissioned officer of Iraq, East Timor and Bougainville (Papua New Guinea), who committed suicide in 2019, four months after he was told. He said he had to wait half a year for a military psychiatrist to treat his depression and post-traumatic stress.

Australia “must look at why this is happening and find solutions,” her mother, Julie-Ann Finney, said in statements released today by public broadcaster ABC.

“I said from the beginning that I didn’t bury my son so he could go. There are hundreds like me,” said Julie-Ann Finney, a key figure in the campaign, who asked the Canberra Administrator to set up a commission on suicides among veterans.

The full report (in English):

(with information from EFE)

Inside Mexico National Telephone Support, Counseling and Crisis Intervention System (SAPTEL) Offers 24-hour telephone assistance on 0155 5259-8121. In the United States you can call +1-888-628-9454.

Inside Buenos Aires Suicide Aid Center They are available to anyone in crisis from Buenos Aires and GBA on the toll-free number 135 or by calling (54-11) 5275-1135 24 hours a day. Also Center for Family Suicide Awareness (CAFS): Tel. (011) 4758-2554 ([email protected]www.familiardesuicida.com.ar).

Inside The United States has a National Suicide Prevention Network ask for help; You can call the National Suicide Prevention Service hotline at 1-888-628-9454 or 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone who will provide you with free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. . The CDC also recommends its own prevention policies, programs, and practices.

Source: Info Bae

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