Review into the Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Services available to current and former serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families

On 11 August 2016, the Prime Minister, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel and the then Minister for Health and Aged Care announced a Review of the services available to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force in relation to the prevention of self-harm and suicide (the Review).

The Review focused on the type and efficacy of the self-harm and suicide prevention services that are available, and looked at prevalence rates and potential barriers to access of services.

The Review was undertaken by The Commission and our Final Report was presented to Government on 28 March 2017. The Government's response was released on June 30 2017.

The Commission is very grateful to all who contributed to the Review. 

We thank the current and former members of the Australian Defence Force and their family and friends, as well as service providers, all of whom provided their valuable opinions; the Department of Defence, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Health, which supported and assisted the work of the Commission; and the Project Reference Group and the Australian Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention for their expertise and guidance.

The Commission led an extensive literature review of Australian and international evidence, and received 114 submissions and more than 3,000 responses to five online surveys.

We also held interviews with key informants and conducted group discussions across a number of locations, which provided valuable information to complement the information garnered from the submissions and the surveys.

Our work on the review included:

  • A documentation review (desktop audits) and analysis including analysis of online resources.
  • In-depth interviews.
  • Group discussions with: current and former Australian Defence Force members, families and service providers which involved all three service arms across Western Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, ACT and Queensland.
  • Australian Defence Force (ADF)/Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) mapping: service mapping using international classification system for all Australian Defence Force Health sites including repatriation hospitals and The Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS). Service Mapping comparisons for metro and regional areas relevant to former service personnel. Associated tables and commentary.
  • Geo-spatial mapping of population profiling, socio-demographic risk factors and health status for all 31 Primary Health Network regions (465 socio-demographic maps) and preparation of nine service geo-spatial maps relating to services in eight Joint Health Areas.
  • The Commission worked with the Project Reference Group as well as with the Australian Advisory Group on Suicide Prevention.
  • The Commission analysed all of the data collected, conducted a fact checking exercise with key stakeholders and formulated the final report with recommendations.
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  • Defence Force & Veterans
  • Monitoring
  • Reporting

Acknowledgement of Country

The Commission acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands throughout Australia.
We pay our respects to their clans, and to the elders, past present and emerging, and acknowledge their continuing connection to land, sea and community.


The Commission is committed to embracing diversity and eliminating all forms of discrimination in the provision of health services. The Commission welcomes all people irrespective of ethnicity, lifestyle choice, faith, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lived Experience

We acknowledge the individual and collective contributions of those with a lived and living experience of mental ill-health and suicide, and those who love, have loved and care for them. Each person’s journey is unique and a valued contribution to Australia’s commitment to mental health suicide prevention systems reform.