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Veterans: Suicide

Question for Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office

UIN 88289, tabled on 10 September 2020

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what systems are in place to monitor and record veteran suicide rates.

Answered on

21 September 2020

Data about suicide rates amongst the general polulation across England and Wales are reported by the Office for National Statistics using information provided to registrars by coroners in their records of inquest. Historically, governments have relied on specific studies relating to the cause of death, including suicide, amongst veterans’ cohorts from specific campaigns, for example the Falklands campaign and the 1990/91 Gulf conflict.

In order to ensure that the Government has the most up-to-date understanding of the prevalence of suicide in the Armed Forces community, two further studies are being conducted. The first is documenting all causes of death, including suicide, amongst those who have served in the Armed Forces since 2001. This study will continue on an ongoing basis to provide real-time data about causes of death, including suicide, in the Armed Forces community. A second study is looking at the factors in the year leading up to any confirmed suicide in the Armed Forces community in the last five years.

Whilst these studies will provide updated and improved data about the prevalence of suicide in the veteran community, the importance of this issue means that the Government is committed to exploring other routes, including a potential role for coroners, by which suicide amongst the veteran community could be recorded accurately and consistently so as to help inform improved support and interventions aimed at preventing suicide.

Answered by

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office
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