Veterans Skype counselling pilot under way

Thursday, 10 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 Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Stuart Robert, has announced the Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Service (VVCS) is conducting a new study into the effectiveness of online mental health counselling services.

“We want to make VVCS’s vital counselling and support services as widely available as possible, particularly to eligible veterans and Australian Defence Force (ADF) members in regional and remote Australia,” Mr Robert said.

“To date, there have not been many studies into the effectiveness of online counselling, so VVCS is going to lead Australian research in this area.”

VVCS currently offers Skype counselling on an as-needs basis. This has been popular with clients, who can use the online video telephony service at any location with internet access.

“If the trial indicates Skype counselling is effective, VVCS will consider making it part of its regular services, in addition to face-to-face, telephone and videoconference counselling,” Mr Robert said.

“As part of our commitment to improving the delivery of mental health services the Government is working to make VVCS services accessible to as many veterans and ex-service personnel, and their families, as possible.”

VVCS provides free and confidential counselling and support for war and service-related mental health conditions. Eligible veterans, serving ADF personnel and their families can access counselling for conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and anger management.

“Veterans are encouraged to seek help if they are worried about how they are feeling or coping. We know the earlier mental health conditions are treated, the better the prospect for recovery,” Mr Robert said.

The Government, through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, will pay for treatment of a range of mental health conditions, whether or not they are service related, including PTSD, depression, anxiety, alcohol and substance use disorders.

If you would like to discuss your counselling needs with VVCS, please call 1800 011 046.

Media enquiries:
Richard Briedis (Minister Robert) 0477 391 174
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

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)