The battles our troops face after coming home

22 Jul 2015

The Australian Newspaper’s Paul Cleary reports on this matter – 22 July 2015

A Senate committee inquiry into the mental health of ADF personnel who have returned from deployment also is putting a large spotlight on these issues.

More than 50 submissions have been made, including many from current or former service personnel and their partners. Some of them provide harrowing accounts of the effects of war on individuals and their families, and they also reveal shortcomings in the way Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs have responded to these people in desperate need. ……….

The Defence Department’s submission to the inquiry has tried to ease concerns about the significance of the problem. It cited evidence from a 2010 study that found the incidence of PTSD at any given time among staff who have never deployed was 8.8 per cent, compared with 8 per cent for those who had deployed. It also cited a Middle East Area of Operations health study that indicated the number of deployments and their length was “not a useful marker of risk for PTSD”.

These findings are sharply at odds with the University of Melbourne study led by Philip Cooke that found sharply higher rates of mental illness when comparing Vietnam veterans and personnel who had served in peacetime.