Senior International Forum
The Senior International Forum is an international collaborative forum comprising departmental senior officials of veterans’ affairs in Australia, Canada, the US, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. The forum was formed in 2001 to share knowledge and experience in regard to common areas of interest and challenge. It meets approximately every 18 months with member countries taking turns to host the forum.
The 2012 forum was hosted by Australia in Canberra on 15-17 November. The overarching theme for the forum was ‘Impacts from a major reduction in operational tempo on serving members, veterans, families and government agencies’. Presentations focused on exploring the challenges veterans face post-discharge as well as ensuring that appropriate levels of continuity of care are provided to veterans. Discussions were also held on the adaptability of the roles and services provided by external organisations to meet the evolving needs of veterans, as well as whether existing programs and policies meet the needs of female serving members.
Representatives from the Republic of Korea and Turkey also provided presentations on topics of interest from their respective national portfolios.
The Ministerial Summit was established in March 2005.
The 2012 Summit was held on 19-20 November in Canberra, and ministers received presentations from the members of the Senior International Forum. During the Summit, Australia presented a series of mental health videos developed for social media to reduce stigma and increase help-seeking behaviours. Three participants in the videos were invited to talk to the Summit on their experiences as a serving member, a Vietnam veteran and a member of the family of a serving member.
The ministers tasked their senior officials to explore and share research in the following areas:
- developing a common vocabulary and terminology in mental health research and common approaches to research in this field
- female health issues and the impact of combat on their health
- the effects of environmental exposures informed by ongoing longitudinal research
- the gaps in understanding of neuroscience, in particular in traumatic brain injury and PTSD.