Check in with your veteran mates over the holiday season

The Hon Matt Thistlethwaite MP
Assistant Minister for Defence
Assistant Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Assistant Minister for the Republic

As the holiday season approaches, it’s important to reach out to support your veteran friends and their families who may have experienced heightened stress this year as Defence and veteran issues remain in the public spotlight. 

Assistant Minister for Defence and Veterans’ Affairs Matt Thistlethwaite said the holiday period can be difficult for young and old, so now is the time to pick up the phone and check on a mate who may be in need of a friend.

“We understand that many in the veteran community can experience the holiday season differently to others, whether it be through missing loved ones or struggling with the transition to civilian life,” Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“If you know a veteran, or someone from a veteran family that might be struggling at this time of year, check in and see how they’re doing.

“You don’t need to have all the answers, just let them know that support is available throughout the holiday period from Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling.”

Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite recognised that there are a number of specific issues that may be impacting the veteran community and these have contributed to a challenging couple of years for some people.

“The most common reason a veteran or a family member will contact Open Arms today is to gain help in managing anxiety. But there are a range of reasons to seek help, from managing anger to seeking help with depression,” Assistant Minister Thistlethwaite said.

“I encourage anyone who is dealing with mental ill-health to reach out for support. Open Arms is staffed by trained professionals who understand military service, and veterans’ and their families can be confident they will be able to access the support they need from like-mind experts at Open Arms.

“If you are a veteran or from a veteran family, or know someone in the veteran community, understand that support is available and just a phone call away on 1800 011 046.”

Last year more than 40,000 veterans and family members received assistance from Open Arms, and the service provided over 200,000 counselling sessions.  

Open Arms – Veterans and Families Counselling provides specialised, free and confidential Australia-wide support and can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 011 046. For more information, visit the Open Arms website.


Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling has over 500 staff across 35 centres with a network of more than 1300 outreach counsellors.

Open Arms provides specialised, free and confidential Australia-wide support and can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1800 011 046.

For more information, visit the Open Arms website.

Media contacts

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling provides 24/7 free confidential crisis support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families on 1800 011 046 or the Open Arms website. Safe Zone Support provides anonymous counselling on 1800 142 072. Defence All-Hours Support Line provides support for ADF personnel on 1800 628 036 or the Defence Health Portal. Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608