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Media releases & speeches

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

21 December 2016

Support for veterans with drug and alcohol dependencies

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced the establishment of a panel of community-based providers to help treat members of the veteran community experiencing alcohol and other drug (AOD) use disorders.

Mr Tehan said the panel broadened the range of AOD treatment services in the community sector the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) would pay for clients to access because the providers had been able to demonstrate that their treatments work.

“The treatments offered through the panel will complement the services already provided by hospitals, the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and private practitioners registered through Medicare,” Mr Tehan said.

“They will offer varying degrees of support, including early intervention and an evidence-based, staged approach that ranges from counselling and group day programs to case management and follow up after care, allowing support to be tailored to an individual’s needs.”

In order to access these services, individuals must be eligible for treatment and be referred through a medical practitioner, VVCS, a hospital discharge planner or other DVA allied mental health providers.

As part of an open tender process, providers had to demonstrate capability, capacity and experience, including current accreditation to industry quality standards and the ability to meet DVA’s Core Service Standards for the Provision of AOD services to the Veteran Community.

A list of organisations that are on the panel is available at DVA’s online mental health portal, At Ease (http://at-ease.dva.gov.au/professionals/assess-and-treat/substance-use/).

Mr Tehan said the expansion of non-liability healthcare in this year’s Budget to make mental health treatment free for post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and AOD disorders meant a greater number of Australian Defence Force (ADF) members could access treatment for AOD use disorders.

“DVA can pay for treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and alcohol and substance use disorders without an individual having to prove the condition is linked to their military service,” Mr Tehan said.

“The increased eligibility means treatment is available to anyone who has served one day as a full-time member of the ADF. Funding for treatment is demand driven and not capped.

“Anyone who requires treatment for AOD use disorders should call DVA on 133 254 or 1800 555 254 for regional callers.”

Media enquiries:

Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546). VVCS is a service founded by Vietnam veterans.