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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

25 October 2017

Peer Mentor Network to support Townsville veterans

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan today announced the establishment of a Peer Mentor Network in Townsville that will assist current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel recover from a mental health condition.

Mr Tehan said the Peer Mentor Network would support the work of the Townsville Suicide Prevention Trial Site. Importantly, the trial’s advisory committee will contribute to informing the structure and priorities of the Network.

“The Network will see trained, volunteer Peer Mentors, who have experienced a mental health condition, matched with veterans who are at the beginning of their recovery,” Mr Tehan said.

“A mentor who has experienced the Defence Forces and the challenges of a mental health issue can provide valuable support to someone starting their recovery.

“Peer Mentors can help a veteran see there is light at the end of the tunnel and that help is available and it does work.

“Peer Mentors are helping to break down barriers preventing veterans from seeking help and will be able to point others in the right direction for recovery.

The Peer Mentor Network will be established with the support of the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) along with collaboration from local ex-service organisations (ESOs).

“Collaboration with ESOs is vital to the success of the Peer Mentor Network as they will coordinate their trained mentors and in many cases be the first point of contact for referrals,” Mr Tehan said.

“Staff from the VVCS Community Coordination pilot in Townsville, which now includes two full-time Community and Peer Advisors, will be able to provide guidance and monthly training to mentors and their peers to ensure the Network has an additional layer of clinical support.”

For anyone interested in the Peer Mentor Network, please contact the VVCS Townsville office on 07 4723 9155.

Media enquiries:

  • Minister Tehan’s Office: Byron Vale, 0428 262 894
  • Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6466

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.