Campaign to help regional veterans
A national campaign highlighting the plight of returned soldiers has prompted calls for greater access to support and early intervention for regional and remote veterans.
Not-for-profit charity Walking Wounded, established to support the psychological recovery of Australian soldiers, recently launched its year-long campaign to raise awareness and funds to expand its mentoring and counselling services to help soldiers back into the community.
According to Walking Wounded, 46 soldiers have been killed on active service and 239 veterans have taken their own lives since 1999.
Karratha Returned and Services League president Julie Pope said difficulties in regional areas to access post traumatic stress disorder support made it vital to have groups working on a national level to assist current and former servicemen and women.
“This group is all about breaking down the barriers of mental health issues, particularly in defence members, where it is has for so long been a taboo subject,” she said.
“It was founded by ex-military personnel, so they will have a great amount of first-hand awareness of the complexity of PTSD and its effects on defence members.
“The Karratha and Districts RSL sub-branch can act as intermediary for any of our defence community, we can help in connecting them with services and we welcome any enquiry, which of course will be in the strictest confidence.”
Walking Wounded chief executive Brian Freeman said the tragic levels of incarceration, family break-ups, homelessness and suicide among soldiers was a result of what they witnessed while at war.
He said it was not widely known in the community, but people were often shocked when they heard about it.
“This campaign will help us raise the funds to expand our services to help us achieve zero tolerance of veteran suicide,” he said.
Anyone who needs to talk to someone is urged to contact Veterans and Veterans’ Families Counselling Services on 1800 011 046.
This campaign will help us raise the funds to expand our services to help us achieve zero tolerance of veteran suicide. Brian Freeman