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Armed Forces: Suicide

Defence written question – answered on 18th July 2013.

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Photo of Andrew Griffiths Andrew Griffiths Conservative, Burton

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his Department’s publication, A study of deaths among UK Armed Forces personnel deployed to the 1982 Falklands Campaign: 1982 to 2012, how many and what proportion of (a) 3 Commando Brigade and (b) 5 Infantry Brigade who served in the Falklands campaign committed suicide in each year since 1982.

Photo of Mark Francois Mark Francois The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

At the cessation of hostilities on the 14 June 1982, there were 25,713 UK service personnel who participated in and survived the Falkland Islands campaign. Of these, tragically, 95 are recorded to have died as a result of suicide or as open verdict deaths between 14 June 1982 and 31 December 2012.

The breakdown of these deaths in relation to the respective brigades is set out in the following table:

Formation 3 Commando Brigade 5 Infantry Brigade 3 Commando Brigade or 5 Infantry Brigade
Number of Suicides/open verdicts(1) 15 7 8
(1) The statistics provided include both coroner-confirmed suicides and open verdict deaths, in line with the definition used by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), since research has shown that these deaths share many similarities with suicides except that in the case of open verdict deaths, the intention of the deceased to take their life has not been sufficiently proven to the satisfaction of the coroner.

Due to the small number of suicides within each year, and in line with rounding policy, the information requested on suicides by brigade and year has not been provided. However, the total number of suicide and open verdict deaths of all Falkland Islands campaign veterans between 1982 and 2012, published in the Official Statistic report, are shown in the following table.

  Number of suicides/open verdict deaths
All 95
1982 0
1983 0
1984 0
1985 0
1986 1
1987 1
1988 2
1989 7
1990 6
1991 2
1992 9
1993 4
1994 3
1995 4
1996 3
1997 2
1998 4
1999 5
2000 5
2001 2
2002 6
2003 3
2004 5
2005 5
2006 3
2007 3
2008 3
2009 2
2010 1
2011 2
2012 2

For each year between 1982 and 2012, there have been fewer than 10 deaths with a coroner confirmed suicide or open verdict. For each year over the entire period, the risk of dying as a result of suicide for the Falkland veterans was no different to the UK general population.

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