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Factsheet HSV99 - Mental Health Support


This Factsheet outlines mental health services for the veteran and ex-service community.

When do I seek mental health support?

Good mental health is important for our sense of wellbeing, family and social life, work, and our fitness and sporting performance.

There are benefits to taking action to manage your mental health if you notice an issue. There may be times you feel anxious, sad or angry. You may be troubled by memories, drinking too much, not sleeping well or having difficulties relating to family or friends. It's not unusual to have these feelings, or to experience problems after stressful events or during stressful periods in life.

If you need help, there are people and services who can provide support and treatment. You can use the Department of Veterans' Affairs suite of online self-help tools or access treatment from Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling or your General Practitioner (GP).

How to take action

  • Go online—Visit the At Ease website to access information, self-help tools, mobile apps, and advice about how to seek professional help.
  • Call Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 who provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support to eligible-serving and ex-serving members, and their families. For help, to learn more, or to check eligibility, call 1800 011 046 or visit Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling.
  • Talk to your GP—Your GP may provide treatment or refer you to a psychologist, psychiatrist, mental health social worker or mental health occupational therapist. If you are a former serving member, you may be entitled to free mental health consultations, or you may book a comprehensive health assessment with your GP. The comprehensive health assessment will help your GP diagnose and identify early mental or physical health conditions and to treat or refer appropriately to other services. A Medicare rebate is available for this assessment.

Mental health care without the need to link the condition to service

DVA can pay for mental health consultations without the need to establish that a mental health condition is related to your military service. If you have at least one day of continuous full-time service (CFTS) with the ADF, including as a Reservist with CFTS, and those with national service, you may be eligible for a White Card for treatment of all mental health conditions—whatever the cause.  In addition, from 1 July 2018, if you are a Reservist without CFTS you may still be eligible for a White Card for treatment of all mental health consultations, provided you rendered Reserve Service Days with Disaster Relief Service, Border Protection Service, or were involved in a serious service-related training accident.  It is a good idea to check if your health provider accepts DVA cards before the consultation.  You will need to contribute towards pharmaceuticals.

If DVA has already issued you with a White Card for mental health treatment, you are able to receive treatment immediately.  Alternatively, you can apply to DVA.  For more information about these arrangements, see Factsheet HSV109 Non-Liability Health Care or call 1800 555 254.

If you have a Gold Card, your mental health treatment is paid for by DVA when you use your card.

If you think your mental health condition was caused by your military service, you can also submit a claim for compensation.

If you are not eligible for DVA's mental health support, then you may be able to access mental health support via the Medicare system. Through its Better Access initiative, the Government provides Medicare rebates for up to 10 sessions per calendar year with appropriately qualified mental health practitioners. See your GP to discuss your eligibility. More information on Better Access can be found on the Department of Health's website (

What is covered by DVA's mental health treatment?

If you have a Gold Card or a White Card for a mental health condition, then a wide range of mental health treatments are available to you. This includes treatment from GPs, psychologists, social workers (mental health), occupational therapists (mental health), psychiatrists, or hospital services for those who need it (including trauma recovery—PTSD programs). Start by talking to your GP.

What if my mental health condition was caused by my service?

If you consider that your mental health condition was caused by your military service, you can submit a claim to have liability accepted by DVA. If accepted, you may be entitled to additional support and services. A link must be established between your condition and an event during your service for compensation to be provided. The level of compensation is then assessed by determining the degree of impact the condition has on you.

For service on or after 1 July 2004, you need to complete form D2051 Claim for Liability and/or Reassessment of Compensation.

If you have service prior to 1 July 2004, you may be eligible to receive treatment under either the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA).  Factsheet DP01 - Overview of Disability Pensions and Allowances and Factsheet MCS01 - Overview of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation (Defence-related Claims) Act 1988 (DRCA) describe the eligibility rules under the VEA and the DRCA respectively.

To make a claim under the VEA, fill out form D2582 Claim for Disability Pension and/or Application for Increase in Disability Pension. To make a claim under the DRCA, complete form D2020 Claim for Rehabilitation and Compensation.  If you have any questions, contact DVA on 1800 555 254.

Claims can also be submitted through the Online claim on the DVA website (

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Phone: 1800 555 254*


DVA Website:

Factsheet Website:

*Calls from mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Related Forms


The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances. You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet. Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined. You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA.

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29 June 2018