It is about time we start supporting veteran’s mental health: McArdle

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

It is about time we start supporting veteran’s mental health: McArdle

Member for Caloundra Mark McArdle has commended the current review into mental health services available to the Australian Defence Force after years of poorly looking after the psychological wellbeing of veterans. 

It comes as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has tasked the National Mental Health Commission to conduct a review of services for the prevention of self-harm and suicide available to ADF personnel.   

Mr McArdle welcomes the Commission’s review but said “This must be first step to provide effective and accessible mental health services to veterans and their families. 

“Our veterans put their lives on the line for all Australians. But I remember how this country ignored our Vietnam Veterans for years and turned its backs on the needs of these men and women.” Mr McArdle said. 

“We know that PTSD and other mental illnesses impact more than just the person affected. Children, partners, friends and the greater community feel the effects as well. Sometimes all the Veteran sees is the dark” Mr McArdle said. 

The Commission’s review will examine a number of key matters including the incidence of suicide among serving and former serving ADF members compared to the broader Australian community. 

In his 2016 Remembrance Day address in Canberra, The Hon Jeff Kennett AC highlighted the dark truth about Australian Veteran suicides after returning home.  

 “Why is it that we as a nation have not been able to provide sufficient help – the services – that might have prevented all or some of the suicides of our armed forces personnel.

“Just this year alone, more military personnel and veterans have died by their own hand – on Australian soil – than lost their lives during 13 years of Australia’s involvement in the Afghanistan conflict.

“Surely, our obligations to those who return, should be, must be, that they are safer here, on home soil, than when away.” Mr Kennett said 

The review will also look at the range of services available to members and their families, any barriers they may encounter when accessing help and how effective services are when members are transitioning back into civilian life. 

The Commission will present its interim report the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Veteran’s Affairs and the Minister for Health and Aged Care by mid-December, and final findings will be presented in late-February 2017.  

News about the review can be accessed online via http://www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au/media-centre/news.aspx 

Ends.

For further information contact: Office of Mark McArdle, 5329 4100.