9 Oct 2013

The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, encouraged members of the veteran and Defence communities to recognise the importance of family support in mental health recovery in the lead up to tomorrow’s World Mental Health Day.

Minister Ronaldson said a new online video aims to raise awareness of the role of families in helping our current and ex-serving members of the Defence Force get the help they need.

“Families are often the first to notice that their loved one is not coping and there are signs of poor mental health that they can be aware of to encourage early support.

“Almost half of all Australians will suffer from a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime, but help is out there, and help can make a difference” said Minister Ronaldson.

The video is the latest addition to a series of mental health videos produced by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and looks at how families cope when their loved one returns home from deployment. The video is available for viewing online at the DVA YouTube channel 

“The online video focuses on one of the key fears experienced by families when dealing with someone who is suffering from a mental health condition—how an overseas deployment can lead to a stranger returning home in place of the loved one who left.

“It explores how families, with the support of the wider veteran and Defence community, can face these challenges and be there to support and encourage their loved one to get the help they need.

“I encourage families to watch the videos and explore the wide range of mental health information and self-help resources available on DVA’s online mental health portal At Ease,” said Minister Ronaldson.

Help is also available through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS). VVCS provides counselling and group programs for veterans, their families and eligible Defence Force personnel. It is a free and confidential Australia-wide service that may be contacted 24 hours a day on 1800 011 046. Australian Defence Force personnel can also call the All Hours Support Line on 1800 628 036. In a crisis, call 000.