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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE

18 October 2018
VA097

Study finds most military families resilient, healthy, financially secure

Most Australian military families are resilient, healthy and financially secure, according to a joint Department of Defence (Defence) and Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) study released today.

Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said the Family Wellbeing Study explored the effect of military service on the families of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members.

"The study provides a very positive picture of the health and wellbeing of military families, in terms of mental and physical health, employment and financial security and shows that most ex-serving families are coping well with transition," Mr Chester said.

"But, as would be expected with the nature of life in the ADF, the study found that some families had experienced considerably more residential and school relocations than the general Australian population.

"The Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and spends $11.2 billion each year to deliver the essential services and programmes they rely on."

The Australian Institute of Family Studies led the research on the Family Wellbeing Study, which is one of eight reports and two papers comprising the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme.

The release of the Family Wellbeing Study follows the release of the Physical Health Status report which confirmed that while the physical health of most veterans is good, some need support during transition.

Mr Chester said transitioned ADF members were more likely to report poorer physical health, to have increased lifestyle risk factors and report poorer self-perceived health, satisfaction and quality of life than those serving full-time.

"The Government has made significant investments to improve the provision of and access to health care services including General Practitioner (GP) care, community care, specialist care and hospital care for those who need it and spends $200 million each year on mental health support alone.

"If you have served one full day in the ADF you are entitled to free mental health care whether your condition is service related or not.

"ADF members transitioning to civilian life have access to a comprehensive one-off health assessment with their GP and from 1 July 2019, all those leaving the ADF will be able to have access to an annual comprehensive health assessment by a GP for the first five years after they discharge.

"This $2.1 million investment will assist in the early detection and treatment of health concerns during transition to civilian life, addressing a high-risk period for mental and physical health."

The Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme is jointly funded by Defence and DVA and is the most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia on the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of transitioned and current serving ADF members and their families.

The Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide led the research program. The Government will release the remaining reports throughout 2018 and 2019.

Further information on the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme and the Family Wellbeing Study is on the DVA website or the Defence website.

Ends

Media contacts

Whil Prendergast: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester MP, Canberra

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au