According to research by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs nearly half of Australian veterans who leave the Australian Defence Force (ADF) experience a mental health disorder within five years, which highlights the challenges associated with transitioning out of full-time military service and into civilian life.
The research also found that only 10 per cent of ex-ADF members choose to seek access to veteran health care services.
The Returned & Services League of Australia is a well-known and highly regarded organisation that supports all current and former serving members of the ADF or of an Allied Defence Force, their spouses, widow or widower, and their dependents.
The organisation is on the frontline of knowing some of the unique challenges that veterans and their families face when it comes to mental health and how to best support them.
For this episode of GET REAL we talk to two people with extensive military experience and insight into life for veterans - RSL Victoria’s Adam “Buzz” Lawson, Chief of Veterans Services and clinical psychologist Dr Carolyn Deans, who is the RSL Victoria’s mental health advisor.
Buzz and Carolyn tell us about veterans’ mental health and their take on what the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System mean for the people they support.
You can also listen to a previous episode where we talk to author Ruth Clare about the effects of war on families.
CONTENT NOTE: If you’ve been affected by anything you’ve heard in this episode you can phone Lifeline on 13 11 14 or go to www.lifeline.org.au
For more info on the RSL Victoria’s work or know someone who could benefit from its services go to:
Veteran Central (1300 MIL VET): http://rslvic.com.au/veteran-support/veteran-central/
Veteran Employment Program: http://rslvic.com.au/veteran-support/veteran-employment-program/
Volunteer at RSL: http://rslvic.com.au/veteran-support/volunteer/
Open Arms is a counselling and support service for veterans and their families with a 24hr phone line on 1800 011 046 and online resources https://www.openarms.gov.au/
ermha365 provides a range of mental health services designed to help people experiencing mental health challenges to thrive in the community.