Piecing lives back together
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.