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Ex-servicemen: Suicide

Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 17 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will commission further research on (a) the incidence of suicide among former service personnel and (b) the merits of psychological autopsies in cases of suicide among such personnel. (278836)

The Department has no plans at present to commission research into the incidence of suicide among veterans, including psychological autopsies.

We do however take a close interest in the health of those leaving the services. In 2003, the Department commissioned Kings College, London, to undertake a study of the health outcomes for some 20,000 personnel deployed to Iraq or in a non-deployed comparator group. This includes analysis of mental health outcomes which so far shows that generally there is not a higher incidence of mental health problems among those deployed. We will continue to monitor carefully the research, which has now been extended to cover in addition personnel deployed to Afghanistan. In addition, scrutiny of international peer reviewed literature takes place when it is published.