Hundreds, if not thousands, of Australian soldiers are struggling to access the financial help they need to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder once home, veterans and support agencies say.
ABC TV’s Four Corners on Monday night featured former soldiers undergoing gruelling therapy sessions to help them recover from PTSD, which has damaged their marriages, their relationships with their children and their careers.
They said speaking openly about mental health issues would have harmed their careers and receiving entitlements from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs was a long and arduous process that deepened their suffering.
The number of PTSD-related suicides among former soldiers are estimated to be three times that of Australia’s combat losses in Afghanistan.
There are also 3000 veterans believed to be living on the streets. About 10 per cent of Australia’s homeless population are believed to be veterans, according to Homelessness NSW and Homeground Services.
Robyn Collins, the head of RSL NSW’s DefenceCare charity, said mental health and homeless services aimed at veterans were in desperate need of more government funding.