From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Subscription List
Sent: Sat 10/09/2011 8:00 AM

VETERANS ACCESSING MENTAL HEALTH ASSISTANCE

Marking World Suicide Prevention Day, Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Warren Snowdon said he was encouraged that more than 20,000 veterans, Australian Defence Force members and their families received support from the VVCS in the past year.

The VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service has centres across Australia, an after-hours counselling telephone service and provides counselling services in regional areas, to assist eligible veterans, ADF members, and their families.

“It’s great that an increasing number of veterans, serving men and women and their families are accessing the invaluable VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service,” Mr Snowdon said

“We know that VVCS has had an additional 2,000 inquiries this past year compared to 2009-10, up from 18,000. The Veterans Line after-hours telephone counselling service received more than 5,300 calls, an increase from 4,600 in 2009-10.

”I want to remind our clients that help is available at any time, where ever they may be.”

Mr Snowdon said modern technology adopted by VVCS is making it even easier to access services.

“VVCS now offers counselling services via video link so veterans can talk to mental health professionals face-to-face for specialised and confidential support in most rural and remote areas in Australia,” he said.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, Mr Snowdon encouraged the veteran community and wider population to learn more about mental health.

“We need to raise awareness about the signs of mental illness and reduce the stigma around it to help save lives. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has a range of online initiatives that provide information and advice on recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in loved ones,” he said.

Initiatives include the Wellbeing Toolbox, and At Ease website. The VVCS Operation Life workshops also educate the veteran community about recognising signs of potential self harm.

For more information on DVA mental health initiatives or the VVCS visit www.dva.gov.au. VVCS can be contacted 24 hours per day by calling 1800 011 046. For information on activities to mark World Suicide Prevention Day visit www.suicidepreventionaust.org.

Media inquiries:
Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999 or 02 6277 7820
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203