PM confronted by soldier with PTSD

27 Mar 2013

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been confronted on Perth talkback radio by a soldier who complained about a lack of support for mentally ill veterans.
The man who identified himself as “Adam” says he returned from Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder but he has found the discharge process confusing and stressful.
His comments follow a warning from retired Army Major General John Cantwell that Defence will be bombarded “thousands” of mental illness cases as troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of the year.
Adam said he had a bad experience with the Department of Veterans Affairs and asked the Prime Minister what she planned to do about it.
“My experiences with DVA, [Department of Veterans Affairs] is a very jagged field and nobody can give you direct answer of where youre going to be and where youll end up, which adds to the stresses of the discharge process,” he said.
“Now what is your plan… for the return guys that are coming with those problems? Because they are going to come back and things are going to be different for them.”
Ms Gillard said the Government was working on the issue.
“We are working on that with Defence, with the Department of Veterans Affairs. To be frank, I get different kinds of feedback about the Department of Veterans Affairs,” she said.
“Ive met numbers of people who have returned from Afghanistan who have been absolutely full of praise for the work that theyve done and the support that theyve had.
“Obviously youve had a different experience and I want to take that on board and deal with it very seriously which is why well follow it up for you.”