Historically, governments have relied on specific studies relating to the cause of death, including suicide, amongst veterans’ cohorts from specific campaigns, such as the 1982 Falklands campaign and the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict. There are currently two studies which will provide important data on suicide within the veteran community. The MoD is finalising a study to track causes of deaths, including suicides, in all personnel who have served in the UK armed forces since 2001 and all future veterans. The study will be updated on an ongoing basis to provide near real-time monitoring of suicides in veterans. This will be complemented by a study being conducted by Manchester University, funded by MOD and NHS England & Improvement, looking at the antecedents to suicide in both serving personnel and veterans focusing on the year prior to the death. The study will include all suicides between 1995-2017 and is due to complete in August 2022.
We recognise the importance of accurately measuring suicide within the veteran community, in order to help inform support and interventions aiming to prevent suicide. In addition to the above ongoing studies, we are working on developing a new and robust method for measuring suicide within the veteran community. This is as part of our broader commitment to improve data collection and analysis, to ensure the Government has the insights needed to provide the support and services our veterans deserve.