April VAC Key Outcomes

2018 Veterans Advisory Council Members. From left to right, Miss Chantelle Bohan, Ms Paula Dabovich, Mr James O’Hanlon, Ms Margot Forster, LTCOL Paul Graham, Mr Leon Eddy, Mr Laurie Lewis (Chair), Mr Chris Burns, Ms Sharon Mascall Dare, Ms Sally Heidenreich, Ms Karen May, CMDR Andrew Burnett, GPCAPT Brendan Rogers and Mr Rob Manton (Executive Officer).  Absent:  Ms Helen Meyer, Mr Michael von Ber, Mr Bronson Horan and Mr Frank Lampard.


The Veterans’ Advisory Council (VAC) met on Thursday, 12 April 2018, in the Combined Mess at Torrens Parade Ground. The VAC’s overarching theme for 2018 is ADF transition with its April focus being ‘Health and Well Being’.

The guest speakers were Ms Sara Bartlett, Project Lead, Mindframe, Suicide Prevention, Everymind and Mr John Mannion, Director, Major Projects, Flinders Foundation.

Ms Bartlett spoke about the role of Mindframe – to encourage responsible, accurate and sensitive representation of mental illness and suicide in the Australian media – and its efforts to build collaborative relationships with the media and other sectors that influence the media, including the veteran community. Mindframe is funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health under the National Suicide Prevention Leadership and Support Program. As a result of the briefing the VAC agreed to consider further action including the development of social media guidelines and the distribution of key messaging to the veteran community concerning suicide prevention.

Mr John Mannion spoke about the recently launched Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation, which has stemmed from the Flinders Foundation in partnership with large South Australian organisations such as the South Australian Mental Health Commission, Flinders University and the Adelaide Football Club. The Foundation will develop a mental health research strategy to rapidly advance our ability to treat, prevent and cure mental illness. It was agreed that the issues raised in the briefing would be incorporated into the work of the sub-committee formed to address the messaging raised by Mindframe.

VAC member Dr Paula Dabovich provided an overview on the language used when referring to post-traumatic stress. It was agreed that the VAC would continue to support greater clarity around the language of post-traumatic stress in accordance with the outcomes of the Veterans Ministers’ Round Table held in November 2017.

Mr Chris Burns, South Australian Mental Health Commissioner and VAC member, provided a briefing on the South Australian Mental Health Strategic Plan 2017-2022. The Key Findings Discussion Paper can be accessed at:


Other matters considered at the meeting included:

  • Veterans Health Advisory Council Update
  • Invictus Games
  • Introduction of The Jamie Larcombe Centre Partnerships Hub Co-ordinator, Justin Brown
  • Veterans’ Employment Framework Update
  • Independent Inquiry into the System of Compensation and Rehabilitation for Veterans


For more information about any of the matters discussed by the VAC or to suggest an agenda item for the next meeting on 14 June 2018, please call Paul Sykes on 8226 8552 or email: veteranssa@sa.gov.au