Saturday, October 01, 2016

Australian Soldiers’ Suicide Rate Rises, Govt Responsible?

Australian Soldiers’ Suicide Rate Rises, Govt Responsible?

Flickr/Kate Ausburn

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As a result of the negligence from federal and state governments, Australian military soldiers’ suicide rate figures have taken pace, a special investigation unit found.

News Corps’ Sunday Herald Sun investigation revealed that around 41 military personnel and veterans have committed suicide in 2016. The figure was no different from the number of Australians killed in Afghanistan since the war broke almost 13 years ago. Former Chief of Army Peter Leahy called the figures a “national shame.” The families of the soldiers who committed suicide said that they would not have taken their own lives if they had gained the support of the Australian Defence Force and the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The reports mentioned the contribution of Leahy in showing concerns about the families. He said that the government must take relevant steps and resolve the issue that is faced by many soldiers and their families. This will prevent many of them from committing such an act.  The report stated that among the suicide committers, most soldiers suffered depression after returning from war zones or they remained anxious and in despair because of the loss of help and support.

The investigation revealed that almost all the soldiers who opted for suicide were deployed in overseas battles, including in Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq or patrolling borders on navy ships.

Following the revelation of the suicide rate figures, Senator Jacqui Lamb has demanded an inquiry into the DVA. She said that she would request an inquiry into the matter and to look into the systematic failure of the defense regulatory bodies. “Veterans won’t start to heal until they’re heard,” the senator added.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Dan Tehan said that each case of suicide was a tragedy. According to Herald Sun, the minister, despite showing concerns over the suicide rates, did not respond to Lambie’s demand for an inquiry.  “Suicide is a problem that we must address together as a society,” he said. “This is an important conversation.”

“Every Australian needs to be aware of the challenges of mental illness and the need for early intervention.”