Veteran Suicide Prevention Report Launched to Help Veteran Communities Across Australia

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

Leading the way in veteran-specific suicide prevention, Operation Compass in partnership with the Black Dog Institute will today launch the ‘Prevention through connection: supporting Veterans to thrive when their service ends’ report.

Operation Compass is the only veteran-specific suicide prevention program that is being delivered through the National Suicide Prevention Trial (NSPT).

The Chair of The Oasis Townsville LTGEN John Caligari, AO, DSC (Ret'd) said the report explores the experiences, challenges, and opportunities of delivering suicide prevention activities for ADF Veterans and families.

“We’ve had significant success during the trial, especially with the #CheckYourMates campaign, GP training program, Health Pathways and the peer support workers throughout the Nation and the Townsville community,” Mr Caligari said.

“Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) indicates the rate of suicide for ex-serving males is 22% higher than the general Australian population and ex-serving females Veterans were 127% higher than the general Australian population.”

“With the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide commencing in Townsville in June, this a reminder how important defence and veteran suicide prevention activities are.”

Operation Compass was initially focused on ex-serving Veterans; however, the reach grew to incorporate serving Veterans, their families and friends, due to the trial site being located in Townsville, the largest garrison city in Australia.

The Head of Implementation from Black Dog Institute Janey McGoldrick said that since 2017 when the NSPT was announced by the Australian Government, Operation Compass has developed innovative strategies in awareness and prevention of veteran suicide, many of which are being adopted more widely.

“We welcome the approaches developed, including the use of lived experience and peer support. We encourage all Primary Health Networks and other Veteran Wellbeing Centres throughout Australia to learn from this work and consider what can be applied to their veterans’ communities,” Ms McGoldrick said.

This report will be shared with the Australian Government, Primary Healthcare Networks Veteran Wellbeing Centres across Australia, ex-serving organisations (ESOs) and with the Royal Commission. The report can be found on The Oasis Townsville’s and Black Dog Institute’s website.

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Black Dog Institute is a global leader in mental health research and the only Medical Research Institute (MRI) in Australia to investigate mental health across the lifespan. Areas of strength include suicide prevention, digital mental health, workplace mental health, new treatments, and prevention in young people.

Our unique translational approach allows us to quickly turn our world-class scientific findings into clinical services, educational programs and e-health products that improve the lives of people with mental illness. We join the dots, connecting research answers, expert knowledge and the voices of lived experience to deliver solutions that work across the health care system for patients and practitioners alike. The Institute is proud to be a trusted partner of government, universities, health services, clinicians, industry, workplaces, schools and philanthropists across the country.

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