The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has released the first stages of research making up part of largest study undertaken to examine the impact of military service.
The Mental Health Prevalence and Pathways to Care reports have examined the health and wellbeing of Australian Defence Force personnel during service and following their transition back into civilian life.
Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the reports have reaffirmed the federal government's commitment to focus on assisting veterans to transition into civilian life.
"In a nutshell, the research is confirming that we are heading in the right direction but more needs to be done to assist veterans and their families during the critical transition period to civilian life," Minister Chester said.
"Transitioning from the ADF into civilian life can be a daunting and challenging experience, which is why it is so important to understand what the issues are so we can ensure our current personnel and those transitioning out of the ADF are fully supported."
Minister Chester said there is an ongoing effort within the government to improve the DVA's "antiquated IT systems" in a bid to improve veterans' access to mental health care and transition support.
"The federal government has made a significant investment to improve provision of, and access to, mental health care, transition support and future employment assistance programs for current and ex-serving ADF members and their families," he said.
"Providing free treatment for any mental health condition to all those who have served at least one day in full-time ADF service is just one of the key government initiatives already in place to address these issues.
“My message to all those who have served and those serving now is that if you need mental health support, no matter the cause, please seek it as soon as possible; it is never too late to seek help."
The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme is jointly funded by the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs. The research was led by the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide, which was partnered for the Pathways to Care report by Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. A further six reports will be released throughout 2018 and 2019.
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Further information on the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme, including the first two reports, is available on DVA’s website.