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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

1 April 2019

Computer-based trial designed to assist veterans leaving the military

Computer-based tasks will form the basis of a trial program to assist Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as they transition from military to civilian life, Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester said today.

"The Stepping Out: Attention Reset (SOAR) trial is designed to test whether a brief attention training computer task improves adjustment to civilian life and may reduce the risk for mental health disorders," Mr Chester said.

"Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling (formerly VVCS) and Phoenix Australia are partnering with representatives from Tel Aviv University to conduct the research nationally.

"Any current full-time ADF members who are transitioning from service in the next 12 months can participate in the trial.

"Our Government is putting veterans and their families first and provides more than $11.2 billion each year to deliver the essential services and programs they rely on. If you have served one full day in the Australian Defence Force you and your family can access free mental health care, through Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling, whether that condition is service related or not.

"About 5,500 people leave the ADF each year with most transitioning well, but for some there may be additional support needed. Our Government is committed to improving the transition services and programs ADF members and their families need, when and where they need it.

"Military training teaches you to pay close attention to your environment and the things that could be a potential threat — in many military settings this training is life-saving. Once you leave the military, if your attention is not re-balanced to suit a civilian setting, adjustment issues or mental health problems may develop.

"The findings from the study will play an important role in the Government's action on improving veterans' mental health and is just one of the many programs the Government is using to ensure veterans and their families receive the best possible support."

To sign up to take part in the trial, visit the SOAR trial website, phone 1800 945 089 or email soar-trial@unimelb.edu.au.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Rachel Tharratt: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

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