The evidence presented and initial findings show how important the royal commission is.
As the royal commission investigates the risk factors around veterans’ mental health it needs to look at contact with the criminal justice system.
We have a long tradition of royal commissions in Australia — dating back to before federation. But we know from bitter experience they can fail to generate change.
There have been numerous inquiries into veteran suicide, mental health and combat trauma over the past 20 years — with little positive outcome.
The rate of death by suicide is rising among veterans. The most common stressor is a serious relationship difficulty.
The U.S. suicide rate has been increasing for decades. According to a sociologist who studies suicide, depression is just one factor among many implicated social conditions.
Only through discussion and recognition of service and veteran mental health issues can these tragedies be prevented in the future.