From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Subscription List
Sent: Fri 7/10/2011 2:05 PM

NEW VETERANS RESOURCE TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today launched a new booklet to help current and former serving Australian Defence Force members manage the challenges in transitioning to civilian life.

Mental Health and Wellbeing after Military Service provides information and advice for current and former serving personnel, and their families, about mental health and wellbeing after military service.

“Monday is World Mental Health Day— and in the lead up to that it is only appropriate that we promote mental wellness, resilience and how to cope with life’s significant changes,” Mr Snowdon said.

“Experience shows us on average non-officer ranks separate from the ADF in their late 20s, most go on to pursue diverse careers outside the military.

“Many are in long-term relationships and have children so it’s important to address the challenges of transition not just for themselves, but their families too,”

Mental Health and Wellbeing after Military Service was developed in consultation with the Australian Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health and includes an extensive section on self-help management strategies.

Mr Snowdon said the book was written to target younger veterans and addresses a broad range of mental health problems, incorporating evidence-based treatments and strategies.

“With many servicemen and women being deployed, often more than once, the Government recognises the potential for mental health issues to arise.

“We are now doing more than ever to help current and former serving members identify and manage issues before they escalate.

“It is our hope that resources such as the Mental Health and Wellbeing after Military Service booklet will encourage ADF member and veterans to consider their mental health and seek assistance, should they require it, from one of the many professional support structures available to them,” he said.

Veterans’ Health Week (24 to 30 October) this year focuses on mental wellness, with activities planned around the country encouraging members of the veteran community to continue to build resilience, strengthen friendships and promote leadership.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a range of tools to help the veteran community with mental wellness. They include an interactive website to help address the challenges of transition, the Wellbeing Toolbox, mental health portal At Ease, and The Right Mix, to help manage issues with alcohol.

“I would like to thank the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) for its tireless work providing support to almost 20,000 veterans and family members each year.

“As we approach Veterans’ Health Week we recognise the specialised, free and confidential services provided by VVCS and remind veterans and their families that help is available 24 hours a day across Australia by phoning 1800 011 046,” Mr Snowdon said.

The Support to Wounded, Injured and Ill Program (SWIIP) is now providing support to ADF members dealing with injury and physical and mental health issues and helping them with the transition to civilian life.

For more information about mental health and the new booklet, visit www.at-ease.dva.gov.au

Media inquiries:
Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 0417 917 796 or 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203