ADF members should have annual mental health screenings, Senate inquiry recommends
ABC News Australia
By Kristy O'Brien
March 22, 2016
Since 2000, 96 serving members have killed themselves and a further 13 veterans have taken their own life.An Iraq veteran has spoken out about his experience with mental illness following his service abroad, saying he felt suicidal every day for eight years.Alex Kasmarek struggled with mental illness for eight years after returning from Iraq. ABC News
Alex Kasmarek has told the ABC his life spiralled out of control after he returned from an eight-month rotation of Iraq, left the military and found himself homeless.
His comments come after a Senate inquiry found nearly one in four returned soldiers had experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months, and the rate of suicidality - which the Federal Government defines as serious thoughts about taking one's own life, suicide plans and suicide attempts - was double those of the general population.
"Every day of my life for eight years I had an undesirable will to shoot myself. Every single day. And I just didn't know why," Mr Kasmarek said.
"I didn't know what PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] was exactly, and Army doctors told me I was fine. I just thought I was going mentally insane."
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When you watch this clip, you'll hear how low the suicides were back then, so please remember, they were important enough to hold a hearing like this back then but things got worse and we received no accountability from anyone. Their answer was a half day course for "non-commissioned officers" to take.