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Media releases

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel

MEDIA RELEASE

24 September 2019

Government seeks input into mental health and wellbeing strategy and national action plan

VETERANS, their families, and the broader ex-service community are being asked to help shape the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan as public consultation opens today.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester is encouraging those in the community to have their say and provide their ideas on how the Government can improve veterans’ mental health and wellbeing. 

“This Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first, and a crucial part of this is listening to their views, their experiences and considering their solutions to promote positive mental health and wellbeing outcomes,” Mr Chester said.

“People will be able to have their say and contribute to this important topic through an online survey or by providing a written submission, with a view of ensuring collectively that we are all doing what we can to support our veterans and their families.”

The Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan was determined as a priority as part of the of the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit that Minister Chester convened in June this year.

“The Prime Minister has made mental health one of his highest priorities and I am committed to driving new efforts to improve mental health for veterans and their families,” Mr Chester.

“One of the initiatives I have been working on is providing assistance dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This is the first time the Federal Government has provided financial backing to a trial of this nature and something that I am proud to support.

“This is just one step this Government is taking to put veterans and their families first, and more than $230 million a year is being invested in supporting the mental health of veterans, out of a broader budget of more than $11 billion.”

To help everyone provide informed feedback for the online survey, an environmental scan of mental health reform in Australia has also been published, which highlights developments in mental health policy across Australia over the past six years.

For those in need of immediate mental health support and counselling, Open Arms — Veterans and Family Counselling can be contacted 24/7 on 1800 011 046.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs online wellbeing portal, AT-Ease.dva.gov.au, also provides veterans and their families with information, resources and links to services for support with mental health and wellbeing.

To view the environmental scan, complete the online survey or provide a written submission, please visit: www.dva.gov.au/nap2019

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 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au