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Call to address crisis in Veterans’ mental health


Three Vietnam Veterans from Bourke who have all experienced mental health struggles – Victor Bartley, David Judd and Tony Robinson. Photo TWH

Men’s Mental Health Week will see the launch of a new campaign aimed at addressing the shocking statistics of the mental health injuries of former Australian Defence Force personnel.

Data has revealed that 29% of former ADF members expressed feelings that life wasn’t worth living.

Veteran Benefits Australia is an organisation working to assist veterans in streamlining their compensation claims and connecting them with allied health professionals.

The advocacy group said sadly, individuals with past ADF service were twice as likely to experience anxiety-related disorders compared to those without military service history.

The ADF Transition and Wellbeing research study identified the suicide rate among ex-ADF members as far higher than in the general population.

Bourke RSL President Victor Bartley has long been an advocate for more recognition of psychological injuries suffered by veterans and for more services to be made available upon their return from active duty.

He welcomed the push for specialist veteran mental health awareness programs but said despite years of evidence about the need for more and easier access to mental health resources, many veterans were still unable to access the appropriate help.

At the recent Anzac Day commemorations in Bourke, Victor was joined by other former Bourke veterans who all admitted to lifelong battles with mental health, decades after their physical injuries had healed. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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