Help is available, please reach out

Wednesday, December 2 2020

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

DEFENCE personnel, veterans and their families impacted by the ongoing coverage of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s Afghanistan Inquiry are being encouraged to reach out for support.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the vast majority of men and women who serve in our Defence forces transition well to successful careers, but some require additional assistance.

“We ask a lot of every person who puts on the Defence uniform and right now they need our support — check in on a serving member or veteran you may know, ask them how they are doing, and encourage them to seek further help if they need it,” Mr Chester said.

“Mental health is everyone’s business and we all need to support one another. The important first step is to reach out for help so please pick up the phone and get the support you may need.”

There are a number of defence and veteran-specific services ready and able to provide support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Safe Zone Support (1800 142 072) is a free and anonymous counselling line for current and former ADF personnel and their families. The service is available 24/7 and provides access to specialised counsellors with an understanding of military culture and experience. When you call Safe Zone Support you do not need to identify yourself if you do not want to.

Defence personnel, veterans and their families can also access free and confidential counselling 24/7 through Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling Service (1800 011 046) or online at

The Defence All-hours Support Line is a confidential telephone service for ADF members and their families that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1800 628 036. Defence families can also contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.


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