Submission to Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide

Mental Health Australia was pleased to work in partnership with Suicide Prevention Australia to develop this joint submission to the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Mental Health Australia also thanks the many members, individuals and representatives of the National Mental Health Consumer and Carer Forum who contributed to this submission.

Veterans and Defence personnel offer incredible service and sacrifice to protect and promote the interests of the Australian community. In turn, the Australian community through our government must protect and promote the lifetime wellbeing of veterans. This Royal Commission is a unique opportunity to address systemic factors underlying the tragic and comparatively high rates of suicide amongst Australia’s veterans. As outlined in this submission, reform is required across recruitment processes, Defence culture, transition support, coordination of services, engagement with Australian Government agencies for compensation and rehabilitation support and development of data. In particular, Suicide Prevention Australia and Mental Health Australia call on the Commission to prioritise the voices of lived experience in its inquiry, consider broader reforms in mental health and suicide prevention to promote holistic, whole-of-government responses, and support implementation of the Commission’s recommendations through advising on accountability mechanisms.

This submission outlines 30 recommendations for the Commission, regarding both the conduct of the Commission itself and in response to its Terms of Reference.

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