Department of Veterans' Affairs
safeTALK for the veteran community is a pilot suicide awareness training program tailored for the ex-service community - including ex-serving members of the Australian Defence Force and their supporters, e.g. family members, friends, carers, colleagues and/or civilian members of ex-service organisations.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), through Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling (Open Arms), conducts suicide awareness programs to increase the skills and confidence of people in the ex-service community to recognise and respond to the signs of suicide risk in others. Open Arms appointed and worked with LivingWorks Australia to develop and deliver a pilot suicide awareness training program. The one-day program was based on the existing safeTALK suicide awareness training but tailored for veterans and others connected to the ex-service community.
The purpose of the training program is to:
DVA engaged AHA to evaluate the pilot program to establish if the training:
AHA used the New World Kirkpatrick Model of training evaluation to examine training participants’ reaction, learning, behaviour and results over time. This included conducting:
AHA’s final report to DVA:
Suicide is a significant issue in the veteran community. Compared to the Australian population, the age-adjusted suicide rate is more than 2 times higher among ex-serving women and 21% higher among ex-serving men. Many factors contribute to this higher rate of suicide, with transition from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to civilian life recognised as a particularly high-risk period.