Binskin right to recognise issue of PTSD
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.