From: Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Subscription List
Sent: Thu 20/09/2012 11:06 AM

SOCIAL SUPPORT CRITICAL FOR FAMILIES OF DEPLOYED TROOPS

A new report launched today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, reveals the importance of social support for families of our deployed troops.

Mr Snowdon said the Timor-Leste Family Study, the first Australian study of its kind, investigated the effects of deployment to East Timor on the health and wellbeing of the families of Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.

“We know that when a member of the ADF is deployed in overseas operations there is an impact on family life and for some families this presents its challenges,” he said.

“While families cope with deployment in different ways, and indeed some families are faced with multiple deployments, the study showed the importance of partners and children staying connected with their community and family while their loved one is on operations.

“The study showed partners who had more support experienced better mental health, lower psychological distress and fewer behavioural issues with their children.

“The Australian Government is keenly aware of the importance of good support networks, and established the Defence Community Organisation and Defence Families Australia to encourage these networks.”

Mr Snowdon said in general, the study also revealed positive results for families and few differences in the impact of service on the families of those who deployed to East Timor when compared with families of ADF personnel who did not serve overseas during this period.

“In terms of the mental health of family members, it showed some evidence that the mental health of the serving members can affect the mental health of partners and the emotional and behavioural health of children,” he said.

The Timor-Leste Family Study, which commenced in 2009, will help the departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Defence to better understand the impact of deployment on families and which support services will best help them.

Today marks 13 years since 5500 troops were deployed to East Timor to serve with the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET). Since 1999, more than 20,000 ADF personnel have deployed to East Timor in 10 operations.

The study is part of the Australian Government’s ongoing Family Study Program to assess the impact of service on the health and welfare of Defence families. It was commissioned by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and was undertaken by the Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health. A copy of the report is available from the DVA website: www.dva.gov.au

Media Note: Images will be available from the DVA Media Centre www.dva.gov.au/media.

Media inquiries:
Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Centre for Military and Veterans’ Health: 07 3346 4953 or 0438 727 895