This report looks at suicide among permanent, reserve and ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
This report expands on this earlier work by including members with at least one day of ADF service since 1 January 1985, following extensive investigation and validation of historical data sources. This more than doubles the population under consideration; 149,000 ex-serving ADF members in addition to the 125,000 ex-serving ADF member population in previous reports.
This report includes information on suicide deaths among all ADF members who have served at least one day in the ADF since 1 January 1985 and who died by suicide between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2019. In this report, the term ‘ADF members’ collectively refers to the three categories of ‘currently serving permanent’, ‘active and inactive reserves’ and ‘ex-serving’ members. These three ADF service status groups will be referred to as; permanent, reserve and ex-serving for the remainder of this report. In previous reports, permanent ADF members were referred to as serving—there has however been no methodological change and the term is comparable to previous reports. As of 31 December 2019, almost 373,500 Australians had served at least one day in the ADF between 1 January 1985 and 31 December 2019. Of these, just over 358,000 were still alive of which 59,000 were permanent, 38,700 reserve and nearly 261,000 ex-serving.
Australian Government, 2021. Serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members who have served since 1985: suicide monitoring 2001 to 2019. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.