DVA Minister’s Report to ESO RT – Mental Health for Veterans

31 Mar 2015


ABC TV 4 CORNERS – BRINGING THE WAR HOME exposed the scourge of PTSD; “as soldiers they fought the enemy abroad, now as civilians they battle a silent enemy within”.  The program created massive interest not only within the defence family, but in the Parlaiment and the public with questions and criticism directed at the ADF, the Defence Department, DVA and the Government.

The ADF Senior Leadership responded with an explanatory statement  that said:
“A recent television documentary that focused on ADF veterans and their stories of dealing with PTSD and other mental health issues arising from their deployment has created significant public debate. This is potentially one of the most emotive topics relating to service in the ADF that is discussed in the public domain. Over the past six years, the ADF has put an enormous amount of effort into improving our understanding of, and screening for mental health conditions, particularly PTSD, as well as in preventing and treating such conditions.

As a result of this effort, we now have some excellent programs in place to assist our people and Defence works extensively and closely with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide a smoother transition for those ADF members leaving military service and earlier identification of mental health issues in that transition period. We consult with the Prime Ministerial Advisory Council on Veterans’ Mental Health to ensure we are doing all we can in this important area.” Read More

Senator Michael Ronaldson, The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs reported on the matter to the ESO Round Table (ESORT) in Canberra LAst Tuesday 24th March 2015:

The Department of Veterans’Affairs (DVA) spends almost $179 million ayear on meeting the mental health needs of the veteran and ex-service community.

DVA has developed a range of significant resources to support serving and ex-serving military personnel with mental health conditions, as well as support for families. The Government’s funding for veteran mental health treatment is demand driven and not capped. This includes funding for online mental health information and support, General Practitioner (GP) services, psychologist and social work services including the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS), specialist psychiatric services, pharmaceuticals, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) programmes, and in-patient and out-patient hospital treatment. DVA also provides training and resources to mental health practitioners so they can provide the best evidence based treatment to veterans.

My Department recognises the difficulties that clients with mental health conditions may be facing, and accordingly gives priority to these claims when received. In addition, my Department has developed a case coordination programme to assist veterans at risk with information about available services and benefits in order to minimise the risk of self-harm or harm to others.