A CALL for a royal commission into veterans' suicides has divided opinion among Wagga veterans.
The discussion comes as Labor leader Anthony Albanese backs the ongoing push for a veterans' suicides inquiry and Prime Minister Scott Morrison leaves the door open on the idea.
It followed the release of suicide information from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which revealed there have been 419 suicides in the current and former Australian Defence Force personnel from 2001 to 2017.
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Veteran Jason Frost said an inquiry was needed "more now, than ever before," but he does not expect this to be a quick fix solution.
Although, Mr Frost said the approach has the potential of exposing shortfalls within the current system. He said the federal government needed to consider "outside the box" ideas to address these problems.
"(Veterans' suicides) is happening at an alarming rate and I am seeing these guys crumble before me," he said.
"Something needs to be done at a government level ... they need to talk to the guys on the ground and see the consequences of the current system and find out what is causing this.
"We have other countries dealing with the same issues, but are a little more open minded about alternative treatments."
A costly approach
Vietnam veteran Des Carmody said he does not believe the powers of a royal commission need to be exercised in this case.
Mr Carmody, who is a retired barrister, said an inquiry was designed to go behind the scenes when information was inaccessible.
He said there are other means to achieve the same results, which are less expensive such as the Coroners Court, tribunals or the freedom of information act.
"You have a lot of money going to the lawyers and not much going towards ... the treatment of the illnesses that these veterans have got," he said.
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Mr Carmody said the biggest problems facing veterans, who leave the armed forces is finding employment and accessing medical assistance.
He said veterans, who took their own lives were let down by the system at some stage - and where that point was needs to be identified.
"My view is that the troubles that return people are finding is they are not being handled properly by the Department of Veterans' Affairs or Defence and that is exacerbating their mental health," he said.
Torn on next steps
Veteran Nathan Dean said he supports a royal commission into veterans' suicides, but it was not the only solution.
The former sergeant served for 16 years in defence before he was medically discharged for mental health concerns almost two years ago.
Since then, he has had ongoing struggles with his mental health and because of this Mr Dean said the issue should not be pushed aside in wait of an inquiry's findings.
Mr Dean said the federal government needs to find short-term options in the meantime to address the disconnection between veterans and the Department of Veterans' Affairs.
"Transitioning out of defence into civilian life, there was no support and I was left to do everything on my own," he said.
"It is a big adjustment because you lose your identity, your self-worth and purpose."
- If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.