Veteran Suicide: Social and Historical Dimensions
Between 1997 and 2020, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare(AIHW) recorded 1,600 suicides for individuals with Australian Defence Force (ADF) service. Suicide rates were 27% higher for male veterans and107% higher for female veterans when compared to the Australian population. This project has conducted interviews with veterans who have attempted to take their live as well as the families of veteran who have. The sociological autopsy approach is used with life history interviews to understand the effects of service and transition, systems and cultures upon veteran wellbeing and trauma and maps an individual’s journey across the life domains of health, housing, education, employment among others.
This project will conduct an historical and cultural analysis of the ways government, the military and the community have understood, governed, and serviced veterans from 1914 to the present. It will generate new knowledge by exploring wider historical, cultural and sociological relations of veteran suicide, including civil military relations, and the influence of the veteran sector and families and community. It will develop an innovative survey forming the foundation for a longitudinal social health and wellbeing dataset on veterans and contribute to policy and service provision to reduce veteran suicide and improve their wellbeing. Collaborating with the University of Alabama to conduct comparative research, the program is supported by an international advisory group across five nations.
The study is dedicating resources to working with Aboriginal veterans and their communities to collect their accounts of the challenges of service and transition in line with Aboriginal cultural protocols.
Australian Research Council (ARC) - $490,000 and Freemasons Centre for Male Health and Wellbeing, Flinders Foundation - $153,000