Conference to focus on veterans’ health

MINISTERS from Australia, Canada, New Zealand the United Kingdom and United States will meet in London this week to explore challenges faced by contemporary veterans and discuss how governments can improve support services to help them achieve a fulfilling post-service life.

Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Minister Dan Tehan said the International Ministerial Conference on Veterans’ Issues would provide an opportunity to gain insights into how our partner nations deal with mental health issues and suicide prevention.

“Ensuring we meet the mental health needs of those who have served our country and their families is a fundamental priority for the Turnbull Government,” Mr Tehan said.

“We recognise the importance of veterans seeking treatment as early as possible to achieve the best recovery outcomes, which is why in the 2016 budget the Government expanded eligibility for non-liability health care for certain mental health conditions, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, alcohol and substance abuse to anyone with one day of full-time service in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).”

In the 2017-18 budget the Federal Government expanded this to cover all mental health conditions.

Treatment is available to anyone who has served one day full-time in the ADF and is fully funded and uncapped.

Between 2001 and 2015 there were 325 certified suicide deaths among people with at least one day of ADF service.

“One suicide is one too many and being transparent about the mental health challenges facing serving and ex-serving Australian Defence personnel is vital,” Mr Tehan said.