$1.46 Million to improve PTSD treatment for current and former Australian Defence Force members

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Minister for Veterans' Affairs

Minister for Human Services

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

The Hon Darren Chester MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

The Australian Government will invest $1.46m in a research project to enhance treatment programs for current and former Australian military personnel with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in a bid to improve their mental health and wellbeing and better support their families.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has awarded a four-year partnership project grant to Phoenix Australia, Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health to work in collaboration with the Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) on world-leading research to improve PTSD treatment.

“The current approach to PTSD treatment involves weekly therapy over a period of three months, which can be difficult for Defence personnel due to the nature of military life, and for ex-serving personnel in coordinating with their civilian employment,” Mr Robert said.

“The research will test whether delivering more intensive PTSD treatment in a shorter period will better support Australia’s military personnel and veterans.”

Assistant Minister for Defence, Darren Chester, said Defence and DVA already provide access to evidence-based treatment for PTSD and both agencies will use findings from this project to inform future delivery of mental health care for serving and ex-serving ADF members.

“The 8.3 per cent prevalence of PTSD in the Australian Defence Force remains a concern,” Mr Chester said.

“This partnership reflects a long-standing collaboration between both departments and Phoenix Australia in improving services and mental health programs available to ADF personnel, veterans and their families.”

The research trial is expected to commence in 2016.

Current and former ADF personnel and their families who need mental health counselling and support services now can contact the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) on 1800 011 046 for 24/7 support.

Media enquiries:
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert): 0477 391 174
Brie Colley (Minister Chester): 0475 962 448
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Defence Media: (02) 6127 1999

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