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Factsheet HSV99 - Mental Health Support

Purpose

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, or angry. You may be troubled by memories, drinking too much, not sleeping 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 DVA’s suite of online self-help tools or access treatment from VVCS or your GP.

How to take action

  • Go online. Visit the At Ease website at-ease.dva.gov.au to access videos, self-help tools, mobile apps, and advice about how to seek professional help.
  • Call the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) on 1800 011 046. VVCS provides free and confidential, nation-wide counselling and support to eligible serving and ex-serving members, and their families, affected by war and service-related mental health and well-being conditions. For help, to learn more, or to check eligibility, call 1800 011 046 or visit the VVCS website at www.vvcs.gov.au
  • 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 needed. If you are a former serving member, you are entitled to a comprehensive health assessment from your GP. The 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.

How can I get access to mental health treatment?

DVA can pay for mental health treatment without the need to establish that a mental health condition is related to service. If you have any period of continuous full-time service (CFTS) with the ADF, including as a Reservist with CFTS, you may be eligible for treatment of all mental health conditions – whatever the cause. The condition does not have to be related to service.  For more information about these arrangements, see Factsheet HSV109 Non-Liability Health Care.

If you have a Gold Card, then your mental health treatment is paid for by DVA when you use your card. If you have a White Card for a mental health condition, then your mental health treatment for that condition 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 put in 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 at www.health.gov.au

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 programmes). 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 before 1 July 2004, you will need to complete form D2582 Claim for Disability Pension and/or Application for Increase in Disability Pension. For service on or after 1 July 2004, you need to complete form D2051 Claim for Liability and/or Reassessment of Compensation.

Claims can also be submitted through the Online claim page of the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au/onlineservices/ocl/oclhome.html

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Metro Phone: 133 254 *

Regional Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

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

Related Factsheets

Related Forms

Disclaimer

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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12 October 2017