Bin­skin right to recog­nise is­sue of PTSD

Townsville Bulletin - - OPINION -

HIS words may be of lit­tle com­fort to those in the grip of PTSD, but the speech by Aus­tralian De­fence Force chief Mark Bin­skin this week on the mount­ing men­tal trauma suf­fered by our re­turned ser­vice­men and women was sig­nif­i­cant.

For too long, the top ech­e­lon of the ADF has failed to ac­knowl­edge the scale of the prob­lem.

It was an ap­proach that, with­out ques­tion, added to the stigma sur­round­ing men­tal ill­ness in the mil­i­tary.

More than a decade of al­most con­tin­u­ous over­seas mil­i­tary oper­a­tions has taken a heavy toll on our de­fence per­son­nel.

So it was im­por­tant that Air Chief Mar­shal Bin­skin, in a speech to the Or­der of Aus­tralia As­so­ci­a­tion, ac­knowl­edged that men­tal health in the mil­i­tary was an is­sue of na­tional sig­nif­i­cance.

“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.

The com­ments by Air Chief Mar­shal Bin­skin echo those of our own Bri­gadier Roger Noble, who has been a lead­ing light in the fight to help wounded Dig­gers get back on their feet.

Bri­gadier Noble has also been a strong backer of the Townsville Bul­letin’s Road to Re­cov­ery – Our Dig­gers’ Tough­est Fight cam­paign, which aims to not only in­crease com­mu­nity aware­ness of the plight of our re­turned sol­diers, but the great work be­ing done by a range of groups lo­cally in help­ing them get back on their feet.

Of course, words alone from the top brass will not solve the wider prob­lem of en­sur­ing our re­turned sol­diers re­ceive ad­e­quate sup­port, un­der­stand­ing and train­ing to help with their re­cov­ery.

But it is an im­por­tant sign that those at the top are lis­ten­ing, and the is­sue is fi­nally front of mind.

This can only be a good thing.

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