Learn about Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling

Last year, Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling celebrated 40 years of supporting the veteran community. To help mark this important milestone, DVA TV spoke to veterans and Open Arms staff about how the counselling service was formed and what it can offer members of the veteran community.

Vietnam veteran John Methven OAM has been involved with Open Arms (formerly the Vietnam Veterans Counselling Service) for many years. ‘At the time [of the Vietnam War], the veterans didn’t have a lot of support. It was still an unpopular thing to be a Vietnam veteran. They couldn’t associate.’

John points out that for this reason, Open Arms has dedicated itself to ensuring that ‘never again will one group of veterans desert another’.

‘It instilled in us the need to make sure that we look after our younger veterans the way we would liked to have been looked after.’

‘Our Vietnam veterans had to fight for ten years for a counselling service,’ says Damien Hadfield, Open Arms Assistant Director of Community Engagement. ‘Getting it right when people come home is essential. It validates everything that’s gone beforehand.’

Tracey Jobling, Community Engagement Coordinator agrees. ‘To look people in the eye and see that we’ve made a difference to them and their families – nothing can equal that,’ she says. ‘It takes a lot of courage to reach out for help but … Open Arms is one of those places veterans know they’re going to be looked after.’

‘It’s life saving and life changing,’ says Vietnam veteran, Les Myers.

For more videos about the veteran community and support available, visit DVA TV.

For more information about Open Arms, visit its website or phone 1800 011 046.