Defence unveils new PTSD treatment

20 Aug 2022

A joint venture between government and the private sector has produced a new treatment for PTSD sufferers.

Joint research between the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Department of Defence and the Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health has informed the development of a new treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), involving intensive exposure therapy.

The Rapid Exposure Supporting Trauma Recovery (RESTORE) trial, conducted over a two-week period, reportedly proved as effective as standard treatment, while also offering lifestyle support for sufferers.

Assistant Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Matt Thistlethwaite lauded the benefits of RESTORE for veterans and their families.

“Regrettably, veterans experience PTSD at higher rates than the general population. That is why we are committed to offering veterans experiencing PTSD the best range of treatments possible,” Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“…In its standard form, prolonged exposure therapy requires weekly treatment for 10 weeks. It can be difficult for veterans to commit to this period of time, especially when transitioning from the military and seeking employment.

“The RESTORE trial found that intensive exposure therapy is equally as effective as standard therapy, and participants were nearly four times less likely to drop out of therapy compared with those engaged in the 10-week treatment.”

RESTORE therapy is now being offered to veterans through Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling.

“Open Arms provides high quality, evidence-based, accessible and tailored health care that responds to the unique nature of military service, and its impacts on veterans and their families,” Minister Thistlethwaite said.

Our clinicians are trained in this new therapy and are delivering treatment across the country right now.”

Support is available to anyone who needs it, including:

  • Defence All-hours Support Line 1800 628 036: a confidential telephone service for ADF members and their families.
  • Defence Member and Family Helpline 1800 624 608: staffed by qualified human services professionals including social workers.
  • Open Arms Veterans & Families Counselling 1800 011 046: provides free and confidential counselling and support for current and former serving ADF members and their families.
  • The Defence Employee Assistance Program (EAP) 1300 687 327: a free, confidential and professional counselling service available to Defence Australian Public Service employees, Australian Signals Directorate employees, Australian Defence Force Reservists, ADF Cadets, Officers and Instructors of ADF Cadets and their immediate families, and their supervisors/managers.
  • Safe Zone Support 1800 142 072 (available 24/7): a free and anonymous counselling line, for veterans and their families, providing access to specialised counsellors, with an understanding of military culture and experience.
  • Lifeline Australia (available 24/7) 13 11 14: a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.