From: DVA
Sent: Tue 27/05/2014 11:49 AM

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT GOES MOBILE AND SOCIAL

With evidence emerging that younger veterans are accessing mental health information online via mobile devices, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon Michael Ronaldson today launched a new mobile version of the highly-regarded At Ease mental health online portal.

A mobile version of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) At Ease portal has been developed to give users easier access to mental health information and support on their smart phones. Senator Ronaldson said that one of the four pillars of the Abbott Government’s plans for Veterans’ Affairs was to tackle mental health challenges facing veterans and their families, especially following the draw down of troops from Afghanistan.

“The At Ease website helps veterans and their families to recognise the signs of poor mental health, access self-help advice and tools, learn when and where to find professional support and learn from the stories of other veterans,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“With more than 50 per cent of visitors accessing the At Ease portal via a mobile device, DVA identified the need to provide a mobile version to deliver quick information to people on the go.”

DVA is adapting its programmes to better meet the needs of contemporary veterans. The aim is to help contemporary veterans to manage mental health concerns and, by encouraging them to seek help and treatment early, to support recovery.

DVA recently conducted a social media campaign using Facebook to focus attention on veteran mental health. The first two Facebook posts on 5 May 2014 received more than one million views, with over 13,000 clicking through to the At Ease website.

“This social media campaign highlights the personal mental health journey of several serving and ex serving veterans featured on At Ease website,” the Minister said.

“The campaign has prompted a high level of online conversation. This is important. We want the defence and ex-service community to be talking openly about mental health issues so we can reduce stigma and encourage individuals to take steps to recovery. The Government is determined to prioritise the mental health care of veterans and their families now and into the future.”

To visit the At Ease portal, go to www.at-ease.dva.gov.au

Media inquiries: Minister Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546)