In 2015 more Australian military personnel and veterans took their lives than were killed in Afghanistan during 13 years of war. In the US, military suicide could rightly be described as an epidemic; suicide rates for service members have risen dramatically since 2001 and doubled in 2012.
In the UK, service members have historically been less likely to commit suicide than the general population. However, since 2008 the rates of military suicide have increased and they now surpass civilian rates – and each year these rates have continued to increase. Why do soldiers commit suicide?
Answering this question requires a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including those from medical experts – with extensive knowledge of mental health, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury – and social scientists who have knowledge of military politics, policy, and operations.
This panel brought together a range of interdisciplinary researchers to explore diverse perspectives on why soldiers commit suicide and how military suicide can and should be addressed politically. Panellists included a medical anthropologist, clinical psychiatrist, gender and war expert and military veteran.