Veterans to benefit from improved mental health support
Source: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan was encouraged by progress on how to further improve mental health support for veterans and their families at the National Advisory Committee for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) meeting held in Canberra.
“We owe it to the veterans community and their families to continually build on current mental health support services, and to provide them with a range of options to help improve their quality of life,” Mr Tehan said.
“We can only do this by engaging and working with both the ex-service community and health professionals.”
The National Advisory Committee (NAC) brings together mental health professionals, GPs, psychologists and psychiatrists with former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and family representatives.
Mr Tehan said the NAC highlighted the importance of early access to mental health treatment for veterans and their families and how much they valued the changes made in the most recent Federal Budget.
“Last year, the Government made treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and alcohol and substance misuse free for anyone who has served one day in the ADF without having to prove their condition is related to their service,” Mr Tehan said.
“This treatment is demand driven and fully funded, so if someone needs treatment, it is available — it is not limited by budget. To access treatment is as simple as contacting VVCS on 1800 011 046 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This initiative also provides access to VVCS, which can link veterans and their families to mental health professionals with expertise in military mental health and dealing with the impact of trauma.”
Mr Tehan also attended an event to acknowledge the 35th year of VVCS services, which was attended by a cross-section of representatives from the ex-service community.
“VVCS is the legacy of our Vietnam veterans, who recognised a need for mental health services specifically for those who had served in the ADF,” Mr Tehan said.
“Since 1982, VVCS has provided more than 1.6 million counselling sessions to more than 300,000 veterans and family members.
“VVCS today is a specialised 24/7 service that supports all generations of veterans and their families, which includes 26 counselling centres, an afterhours support line and a network of more than 1,100 outreach clinicians.
“Importantly, this service is able to deliver quality mental health counselling to veterans and families wherever they are in Australia, whenever they need support.
“VVCS has made, and continues to make, a difference to the lives of so many in the veteran community.”
More information on the NAC can be found on the VVCS website (www.vvcs.gov.au).