Social connection helps veterans fight back


Veterans Health Week (VHW) this year is putting the focus on the importance of having a social connection for those who have served or still are in the defence force.

Running from Saturday 22 October to Sunday 30 October, VHW is an opportunity for veterans, war widows, widowers, current and ex-Australian Defence members and their families to participate, connect and influence the health and wellbeing of themselves and their friends.

Chairman of Soldier On Peter Leahy said that it is hard for veterans to transition back to civilian life and the struggle results in many soldiers ending their own lives. For others just reconnecting with the civilian community is a challenges.

“They have seen some pretty awful things. Some of them have been injured in really quite terrible manners. Some of them are finding it difficult in their families.” Said Lieutenant General Peter Leahy.

Soldier On helps to reintegrated serving and ex-serving men and women by focusing on their physical and mental health, their family, community and future.

More than 300 events will be held throughout Australia to recognise the week.

Veterans and their families will be able to attend a variety of events to connect with each other said the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel, Dan Tehan.

“I encourage all veterans, Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families to take part in a local event, meet new people who share a common experience and build relationships,” Mr Tehan said.

Private hospitals work closely with veterans and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), providing services in day, overnight and psychiatric hospitals. In 2014-15, private hospitals treated 34 per cent of veterans who required hospital services.

Eleven private hospitals throughout Australia are accredited by the DVA to provide trauma recovery programs in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), providing high quality treatment to veterans and former service ADF members with PTSD.

By the numbers
DVA works with private hospitals around Australia to provide services to veterans, these hospitals include:

  • 239 private hospitals,
  • 237 day surgeries, and
  • 58 private mental health hospitals.

To learn more about encouraging people to talk about PTSD see this story.

Veterans, their families and health care professionals can also visit for information about support available and online self-help tools.


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