The government has announced the appointment of its interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester welcomed the announcement made by Attorney-General Christian Porter today appointing Dr Bernadette Boss to the role.
“The health and wellbeing of our veterans and ADF personnel is at the heart of the National Commissioner legislation and is part of the government’s commitment to putting veterans and their families first,” Mr Chester said.
“The appointment of an interim commissioner is a significant step forward as we work to ensure our personnel and veterans have the help they need, when and where they need it when it comes to their mental health.
“I congratulate Dr Boss on her appointment as the interim National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention who will start working to identify and understand the factors and systemic issues that may contribute to suicide risk and provide recommendations to improve prevention efforts.
“Dr Boss started her career as a nurse, completing a Bachelor of Science in London and later studying law.
“She had a distinguished military career and has held inquests and hearings into complex deaths, including suicides.
“As a current Magistrate and Coroner in the Australian Capital Territory, Dr Boss has the skills and expertise to examine these tragic instances of ADF and veteran suicides to understand practical actions to reduce suicide risk.”
Mr Chester said that while legislation was currently before parliament to establish the role permanently, the interim National Commissioner would begin important work to strengthen efforts toward suicide prevention, including conducting an independent review of past Defence and veteran suicides.
“Following the passage of legislation, the National Commissioner will have enduring power, scope and resources to inquire into deaths by suicide, and will support future wellbeing and suicide prevention efforts, by identifying the need for any system-wide reforms, or new approaches to support ADF members and veterans.
“The National Commissioner will make recommendations to government about actions and strategies to prevent future suicides, and will report publicly on their findings to Parliament each year,” Mr Chester said.
“The government will be required to report on the progress of these recommendations, and the National Commissioner will have an ongoing role in monitoring the implementation of the recommendations it makes.”
The National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention’s official web site is now live – www.nationalcommissionerdvsp.gov.au
Dr Bernadette Boss’ resume on Wikipedia is very impressive.
Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling provides free and confidential support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Help is available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au