Piec­ing lives back to­gether

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

VETER­ANS 360 clients Jason (47) and Phil (44) want peo­ple at Anzac Day ser­vices to re­mem­ber the re­turned ser­vice­men and women bat­tling home­less­ness, al­co­hol and drug de­pen­dence and sui­ci­dal thoughts.

“Spare a thought for the bloke in a blan­ket whose life is a mess, and who doesn’t know why,” Jason said.

While ex­act num­bers are elu­sive in each State, 17 home­less veter­ans were es­ti­mated to be on Syd­ney CBD streets this month.

How­ever, Jason and Phil lived their post-army ser­vice PTSD, panic at­tacks, home­less­ness, drug and al­co­hol de­pen­den­cies and men­tal health is­sues, be­fore be­ing found by Veter­ans 360.

“If I hadn’t been put in touch with Veter­ans 360, I’d prob­a­bly still be liv­ing in Kings Park,” Jason said.

Af­ter 12 years in the army in­clud­ing op­er­a­tional de­ploy­ment, a med­i­cal dis­charge sent him to New South Wales.

Fam­ily and friends were sub­se­quently lost to him or got burnt out deal­ing with his con­di­tions over nine years.

A fi­nal bout of ex­plo­sive rage “when I cleaned up my lounge room and kitchen with a shovel”, and nearly dy­ing be­cause of a cut from the bout, sent him back to WA to en­ter a clinic and avoid a six-month wait­ing list for coun­selling in his home­town late last year.

He is now in an out­pa­tient pro­gram, af­ter liv­ing in a Veter­ans 360 house, and has an Rsl-pro­vided bond for his own home.

Phil was in Royal Perth Hospi­tal’s men­tal health fa­cil­ity af­ter mul­ti­ple sui­cide at­tempts when Veter­ans 360 ar­rived, sev­eral months af­ter he re­sisted help from hospi­tal staff.

Phil said he was told to “just come in to­mor­row in your civvies, and bring your uni­forms back” when he was dis­charged from the army in Perth 15 years ago.

Ptsd-re­lated con­di­tions, in­clud­ing 18 months home­less fol­lowed, be­fore Veter­ans360’s in­ter­ven­tion

■ Call Life­line on 13 11 14, Veter­ans 360 on 1800 838 360 or the Veter­ans and Veter­ans Fam­i­lies Coun­selling Ser­vice, 1800 011 046.

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