Increasing the availability of assistance dogs to the veteran community ensures growing demand can be met. Since its launch in September 2019, the program has received more than 140 applications. Some veterans are already benefiting from receiving a dog and building a special bond with them.
Through the program, veterans receive specially trained psychiatric assistance dogs that perform tasks to help their owners when they are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, for example night terrors. This helps veterans to reach their clinical recovery goals developed by their mental health professional.
DVA is also evaluating the effectiveness of psychiatric assistance dogs in the treatment of PTSD with La Trobe University. The evaluation will inform improvements to the program to better support veterans’ needs. Early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
To be eligible, you must have a Gold or White Veteran Card, have a diagnosis of PTSD from a psychiatrist and be currently receiving treatment from a mental health professional for a minimum of three months.
Please contact the department if you would like to know more about the program or want to apply to experience the difference a psychiatric assistance dog can make to your everyday life.
The DVA website provides more information on the program.