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Previous Ministers' releases and speeches - Senator The Hon. Michael Ronaldson

Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Special Minister of State

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Thursday, 10 September 2015   


The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson, released a free mobile phone app to help serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel deal with suicidal thoughts.

Operation Life is an important initiative that has been developed in consultation with specialist veteran mental health specialists. This is specifically targeted towards assisting those with the unique challenges and circumstances that military service can present,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“Today is R U OK? Day and also World Suicide Prevention Day. I would encourage all current and former ADF members to talk to your mates about this app, particularly those who may be experiencing difficulties.

“The app has been designed to support professional treatment, and we recommend users work with a clinician to set the app up the first time and learn when and how to use it to stay safe between clinical sessions.”

The Operation Life app provides:

  • easy access to emergency and professional support services and a Personal Support Network of trusted people to call when help is needed
  • a grounding exercise to help users regain control of suicidal thoughts so that they can access support, once they are thinking clearly
  • the ability to look through photos, listen to chosen music and record and review positive reminder messages about worthwhile life experiences and aspirations for the future – reminders of why life is worth living
  • advice on staying safe and when to seek help.

This app is the Government’s latest initiative in a suite of suicide awareness and prevention resources, which includes the Operation Life Online website and face-to-face ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) workshops delivered nationally through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS).

“Any suicide is tragic. Suicide is the leading cause of death in Australia for men aged between 35 and 44 and women between 25 and 34 years old, and serving and ex-serving personnel are not immune from this. It is vital anyone who experiences intense feelings of despair and hopelessness, or feels like they have lost control, seeks professional help,” Senator Ronaldson said.

“The Government is working hard to develop a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy that includes training to assist at-risk individuals, programmes to build resilience, self-help and educational materials, a 24-hour veteran support line and access to clinical services.”

The Operation Life app is available free via the iOS App Store and Android Google Play. More information is available on the Operation Life Online website

A free Clinicians Guide to the app is available to download at

Media inquiries:
Mark Lee 02 6277 7820 or 0408 547 381
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203


Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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