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Health study findings to guide government improvements

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The first reports of the joint DVA and Department of Defence-funded Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme (the Programme) strengthen the evidence base for existing DVA programs and will inform improvements to them, according to Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester.

The Programme is the most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia on the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of current and transitioned ADF members and their families.

The $6 million Programme’s initial findings appear within two reports issued in April 2018: the Mental Health Prevalence report and Pathways to Care report. There will be eight reports in all.

The Mental Health Prevalence report focused on mental disorders among members who had transitioned from regular ADF service between 2010 and 2014, and examined self-reported mental health status of the transitioned ADF and the 2015 regular ADF.

The Pathways to Care report focused on individuals who were experiencing mental health issues and their experience of care-seeking.

According to the Mental Health Prevalence report, in all the areas of mental health measured the men and women who had transitioned from the ADF had significantly higher rates of mental health issues than those who were currently serving.

Mr Chester said the Australian Government had made a significant investment to improve provision of, and access to, mental health care.

‘Providing free treatment for any mental health condition to all those who have served at least one day in full-time ADF service is just one of the key Government initiatives in place to address these issues,’ he said.

The Pathways to Care report found that of the transitioned and 2015 regular ADF with a probable current mental disorder, who have expressed a concern about their mental health and sought care, 75% had done so currently or within the last 12 months..Only about one-quarter of those with mental health problems had been receiving evidence-based care currently or in the 12 months before the data  were collected in 2015.

The remaining six reports to be published in 2018–19 as part of TWRP are:

  • Family wellbeing;
  • Physical health status;
  • Technology use and wellbeing;
  • Mental health changes over time: A longitudinal perspective;
  • Impact of combat; and
  • Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme – Key Findings.

The first two TWRP reports are available on the DVA website.

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