One of our objectives is to promote health and welfare matters to members.
We achieve this through our Welfare Sub-committee, of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) qualified pension and welfare officers, that have the responsibility to:
- Identify appropriate health and wellbeing articles from authoritative sources and publish them in the Association’s Newsletter and website,
- Provide a welfare referral service to the appropriate DVA and ESO support agencies. Our welfare support officers are not required to give “expert” advice but are required to have a thorough knowledge of the existing Federal, State and community services, RSL, Legacy, etc, welfare networks so that they can refer an enquirer to the most appropriate source, and
Maintain a “care watch” over reported sick members and their families. If you need some welfare guidance, contact our Welfare Officer, Lynn Fisher on 8371 3090 or via firstname.lastname@example.org and she can refer you to a qualified advocate.
DVA is the major source for providing veterans with health and wellbeing information and encouragement for them to take responsibility for their own health, make lifestyle changes and consider healthy choices to improve the quality of their lives and so enjoy ageing as a positive experience.
Its web site www.dva.gov.au gives access to a wide range of health education subjects and programs, presented in a style that is very easy to read and understand.
Where to get Help
If you require immediate crisis assistance
In an emergency call 000
For immediate counselling assistance contact
Veterans Line: 1800 011 046
Lifeline: 13 11 14
If you feel that you or someone you know may be suicidal, contact your GP or Local Medical Officer or a counsellor.
POST TRAUMATIC STRESS SYNDROME (PTSD)
DENTS IN THE SOUL
Frightening and overwhelming traumatic experiences can have a strong impact on your mind and emotions. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is an anxiety disorder and is one of a range of psychological reactions you can have to a traumatic incident. PTSD can be distressing with negative consequences for your health and wellbeing. It can affect anyone, but there is help available.
Army, in conjunction with the Directorate of Mental Health, Defence Publishing Service and Singer Songwriter Mr John Schumann, have produced a DVD designed to address stigma, offer support and raise awareness of the issues surrounding PTSD for Army personnel and their families. Featuring Army members who share their own experiences with PTSD, the DVD supports the important message of ‘look after yourself, your mates and your family.’
This 30-minute mini documentary aims to de-stigmatise PTSD and to show that it can potentially happen to anyone who has been exposed to a traumatic event. Developing symptoms of post traumatic stress after exposure to trauma is not a sign of weakness – it is simply being human.
Recovery rates from PTSD are high but early diagnosis and treatment are particularly important. Generally, the longer the symptoms persist, and go untreated, the longer the eventual recovery will take and the greater the disruption to the person’s work, family and enjoyment of life.
Singer Songwriter John Schumann, who wrote ‘I Was Only 19′, is the narrator of the DVD and helps walk viewers through diagnosis, treatment and effects of PTSD on individuals and their families. John Schumann also shares his personal experience with PTSD in the DVD.
Mental health specific DVDs for both Navy and Air Force will be developed in 2011.
HomeFront was developed by DVA to reduce the risk of falls and similar hazards by assisting in the provision of minor home modifications and appliances for all Gold and White Card holders who continue to live in their own homes. A free assessment is available once every 12 months. Details here.
Health and wellbeing
Health and wellbeing is a concern of all DVA clients. The following provide advice, reference material and links to further information.
* Physical health
* Mental wellbeing
* Caring Counselling (VVCS)
* Self management
* Physical & social activities
* Health programs
* Health publications
* Health research
* Health related websites
Promoting healthy lifestyles for Australia’s veterans
About one in five Australians experience a mental health problem at least once in their lives. And it’s no different for the veteran and defence force communities.
Deployment, coming home from a war or peacekeeping zone or returning to civilian life may have an effect on mental health and wellbeing. Some have not experienced mental health problems, others have sought help and recovered. But there are some who continue to experience difficulties. These problems can be identified early, managed and treated. This website is designed to help you or someone you know recognise signs of mental health problems and act to improve and maintain health and wellbeing.
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) has a website dedicated to maximising mental health. Targeting veterans, their partners, carers, sons and daughters, and current serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, http://www.at-ease.dva.gov.au enables the user to find:
* Information on common mental health conditions, as well as information that takes into account the uniqueness of the veteran experience;
* Services that are available to help cope with a mental illness;
* DVA mental health news and event information; and
* Links to other mental health resources.
Need to talk to someone?
Call 1800 011 046 or view further information on the VVCS – Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service
Everybody has ‘mental health’ – just like we have ‘physical health’. You can do things to keep yourself healthy, both mentally and physically.
Good mental health and a positive frame of mind often means you are better equipped to resist stress and tackle challenges.
Maintaining good mental health can enable you to: feel good about yourself and your life be able to respond constructively to stress in your life be able to cope with things that come up in your life improve self-esteem and confidence.
What you can do:
* Learn new ways to cope with problems in everyday life.
* Talk about your feelings and problems.
* Eat a well-balanced diet.
* Participate in regular exercise.
* Develop personal skills that help you deal with people and other situations (e.g. problem-solving, assertiveness).
* Find things to do that you enjoy.
* Ask for help if you think you need professional support.
* Drink sensibly.
* Be active for your mental health
Participating in regular physical activity is good for your mental health. It can:
* reduce anxiety
* positively affect moods such as tension, fatigue and anger
* enhance self-esteem
* provide opportunities for social activity and interaction.
Your health & alcohol … find the right mix.
“There is an estimated 12,300 Australian veterans with drug or alcohol dependence or abuse, and alcohol has been a major contributor to both mental and physical health problems in the veteran community.” Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Alan Griffin.
* Assess how alcohol affects you.
* Calculate weekly alcohol intake.
* Low risk drinking
* Risk factors
As Australians, alcohol is an important part of our culture and lifestyle. We like to relax, socialise, play sport, be with our family and friends but like all good things in life, moderation is the key. Alcohol allows us to relax, unwind and de-stress but drinking too much may have serious implications for your general health and quality of life. It is important that we manage our drinking to preserve our physical and mental health, no matter what age we are. Drinking to excess can have serious consequences to our relationships, finances, employment and many other aspects of our lives. It is important to help you get the right mix of alcohol so that your lifestyle and health is balanced out and you can enjoy alcohol without the risks. If you think you may be an at risk or would like to work on managing your alcohol intake then the VVCS Changing the Mix – Alcohol Correspondence Program is for you.
What is the Changing the Mix – Alcohol Correspondence Program?