A recent study conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed that Australian defence veterans are taking their own lives at much higher rates than the general population, with more than 400 known deaths of ex-serving and reserve defence Australians over the last 16 years.
The alarming statistics found that ex-serving men are 18 per cent more likely than other Australian men to die by suicide. Meanwhile, ex-serving women are two times likelier than civilian women. Over the same period, twenty-one defence veteran women have taken their lives.
Drug use is also a huge issue: 20 per cent of veterans are using antidepressants and opioids compared to 15 per cent of all Australians.
"The only acceptable number to the Australian community is zero, and we've got to keep working towards that," Veteran's Affairs Minister Darren Chester told ABC radio.
"The prime minister has made it very clear that all options are on the table when it comes to the different mechanisms required by government to investigate these matters."
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