Chief takes PTSD stand
AUSTRALIAN Defence Force chief Mark Binskin has been applauded for his stance on mental health issues facing former and current military personnel.
During a speech to the Order of Australia Association on Monday, Air Chief Marshal Binskin called on Australians to change their thinking when it came to post- traumatic stress disorder and accept there was no shame for military and emergency services personnel to seek help for mental health issues.
“There is no shame in seeking help and, until we as a community change our thinking to accept and acknowledge that, even the best mental health treatment programs in the world will fail because this is an issue for our nation, not just those we rely on to protect us,” he said.
As a veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Air Chief Marshal Binskin said he knew only too well the impact war had on veterans and promised first- class mental health care for every person serving under his command.
“Extreme fatigue and stress combined with sustained attack or threat can have a dramatic effect on a person’s mental health and overall well- being,” he said. “We have a responsibility to continue our research ( into mental health) while implementing the lessons learnt from previous conflicts and operations.”
Mates4Mates ambassador and war veteran Paul Warren said Air Chief Marshal Binskin’s blunt assessment of the issue had been welcomed by the veterans community but removing the stigma associated with PTSD required more than just talk.
“They’ve got to start on ground level if they want to tackle this issue instead of just talk about it,” Mr Warren said.
“During the post- deployment decompression phase, that’s where they need to speak about these issues and advise people where they can get help.
“A lot of PTSD isn’t initial following an incident. For most, PTSD symptoms don’t surface for months, even years, so when it does, members often feel ashamed and try to ignore it.”