Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester has announced improved support services and access to mental health experts for veterans living in rural and remote areas through a federal government initiative.
The new Practitioner Support Service (PSS) will provide expert advice and consultation to doctors and agencies around Australia who are supporting and treating veterans with mental health issues.
Minister Chester said that these professionals, when working with veterans who have complex issues, will now be able to gain access to a panel of highly experienced veteran and military mental health specialists.
In 2016, the Australian government provided $6 million to Phoenix Australia to establish the Centenary of Anzac Centre to target early intervention for veteran mental health treatment. The centre comprises a Treatment Research Centre and a PSS.
The centre will investigate and test new treatments for PTSD and other mental health conditions, and provide expert advice and support to mental health practitioners.
“A general practitioner, for example, working with an individual veteran in a rural or remote setting will be able to get expert specialist advice on how to best treat and support an individual with complex PTSD, pain or other mental health issues. The service can be accessed by calling 1800 VET777 or through the Phoenix Australia website, which also provides links to best practice and professional development," Minister Chester said.
The PSS will engage with a network of clinical experts and other leaders in the field to ensure specific advice is matched to practitioners’ needs and will use a variety of communication methods to ensure the service is available to all practitioners.
“Phoenix Australia has been an international leader in veteran and military post-traumatic mental health for over 20 years, and through the centre, will greatly assist DVA and the government in developing innovative policy, programs and services to improve mental health services provided to veterans and their families," he said.