Cam­paign to help re­gional veter­ans

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ni­cola Kal­mar and Tom Zaun­mayr

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

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