Support available over the Christmas break

Thursday, 23 December 2021

The Hon Andrew Gee MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel

Support services for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel, veterans and their families will continue to be available 24/7 over the Christmas period.  

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee encouraged those who need support to reach out. 

“The Christmas period can be a difficult time for members of the ADF, our veterans and their families,” Minister Gee said.

“Our thoughts particularly go out to those serving ADF members who are currently deployed and won’t be home for Christmas. We want them, and their families, to know how grateful our nation is for their service and sacrifice.

“On top of the usual challenges, 2021 has presented multiple obstacles, with Australia’s withdrawal from Afghanistan being particularly difficult for many of our veterans, service personnel and their families. 

“We’ve also heard very tragic and heartbreaking stories come out of the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide, which will continue hearings from February. 

“I want to thank all those who have shared their experiences. Your contributions will help ensure the Royal Commission is a catalyst for positive change in the treatment and care of service personnel and their families, both now and for future generations. 

“Many ADF personnel have also spent time away from home, deployed to the front line of our pandemic response through Operation COVID-19 ASSIST.

“Those who supported, and continue to support, COVID-19 ASSIST can look back with enormous pride in the lives they saved, the communities they protected and the sense of hope and comfort they gave people right around Australia.

“I want all our ADF members, veterans and their families to be assured support is available to you during the holiday period.

“If you are struggling, or just need someone to talk to over the Christmas break, please pick up the phone, no matter the time or day.”

The following support remains available over the holiday period:

  • Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling line is available to support members of the current and ex-service community and their families. Phone 1800 011 046 toll-free.
  • Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling line that’s available to support members of the current and ex-service community and their families. Phone 1800 142 072 toll-free.
  • Defence Member and Family Helpline – 24/7 advice and assistance for ADF members and their families. Phone 1800 624 608 toll-free.
  • Defence All-hours Support Line – a confidential telephone service for ADF members and their families, available 24/7. Phone 1800 628 036 toll-free.

Lifeline is also available 24/7 on 13 11 14.

There will be changes to some Department of Veterans’ Affairs services from Christmas Day 2021 to Monday 3 January 2022. For more information please visit the DVA website.

“As we head into the festive season, I encourage everyone in the Defence and veteran community to reflect with pride on their contribution to this nation. Please know Australia is forever grateful for all you have done and all you have achieved for us,” Minister Gee said.

“I wish everyone in the ADF, veterans and their families a very happy and safe Christmas.”

For further details about other Department of Veterans’ Affairs services available during the holiday season, please visit the DVA website for more information.

Media contacts

Minister Gee office: 0459 966 944
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466

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 Department of Defence website. Defence Member and Family Helpline provides support for Defence families on 1800 624 608.