Soldier On welcomes the formal establishment of a Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide and acknowledges the firm action taken by the Australian government in addressing this issue. Soldier On’s primary consideration during this process lies with ensuring the entire veteran community is equipped with the mental health and wellbeing support that they need to thrive.
On behalf of the interests of the veteran community, Soldier On has made a submission recommending a broad and inclusive Terms of Reference to allow for a full examination of the myriad of issues that contribute to defence and veteran suicide and the actions and strategies necessary to prevent these tragedies. Soldier On’s submission recommended inquiries into the pre-enrolment factors when joining the Australian Defence Force, support provided by non-government organisations, current process of transitioning post service, as well as factors affecting the entire Defence family.
The Terms of Reference released on 9 July 2021 is reflective of these recommendations. Soldier On intends to be an active participant in the Royal Commission and has established a working group to achieve this.
Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the formal establishment of a Royal Commission displays a positive step towards preventing veteran suicide. “It is our hope that the Royal Commission and National Commissioner will work closely to create an ongoing response to the issue of Defence and veteran suicide, saving lives and improving the wellbeing of those who have served our Nation,” Slavich said. “Soldier On supports thousands of veterans and their family members and will work closely with them to continue to inform the Royal Commission and National Commissioner of the needs of our veteran community now and into the future,” Slavich added.