At least 15 ex-servicemen have committed suicide since Christmas in the terrible hidden toll of war
A GOLD Card for a troubled soldier to cover the
cost of his medical expenses for life was issued the day after he
committed suicide last year.
The Digger had returned from a deployment where he suffered
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as physical
His widow declined a request for an interview with the Herald
Sun, and asked that the Digger's name not be published.
But it has been claimed his ongoing battle with the Department
of Veterans' Affairs to be upgraded from a White Card - which
offers only a limited form of medical cover - compounded his
The revelation emerged as a Herald Sun investigation found the
veterans community in Brisbane is reeling from 11 suicides since
Christmas, including former soldiers returned from Somalia, Rwanda,
Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.
They take them away, they break them, then they give them back
Two ex-servicemen from Victoria, one from Sydney and one from
Western Australia are also known to have taken their lives since
the start of the year.
Veterans' advocates say the tragic tally is a fraction of a
hidden blight unrecorded by authorities and highlights serious
inadequacies in the DVA's bureaucratic claims process, which often
stretches veterans' battles for compensation out to two years.
The DVA keeps no figures on suicides of past servicemen and
women. It told the Herald Sun that it "aims to deal with all claims
as efficiently as possible to ensure minimal impact on the
But another widow who lost her ex-Digger husband to suicide
said resources to support ex-soldiers were insufficient. Once
soldiers such as her husband left the defence force, they became
lost souls, she said.
"They take them away, they break them, then they give them back
to us," the widow said.
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