Please reach out – support is available for those affected by the Afghanistan situation

For anyone in the veteran community who served in Afghanistan, know that your service is valued.

You dismantled terrorism networks, saved lives, improved medical services, built infrastructure, and helped a generation of women and girls get educated.

The situation in Afghanistan is confronting, and the health and wellbeing of the veteran community is at the forefront of our minds at this time.

Our message to all of Australia’s veterans and their families is that if you need support, please get in touch with us.

We thank all Australia’s veterans for their service, and thank the families who support them in their service to our nation.

The Australian Government is working to ensure that visa options continue to be available to Afghan nationals, both within Afghanistan and those displaced from their home country, through Australia’s long-standing Humanitarian and Migration Programs. If you are in Afghanistan, or you are an Afghan national, and need to enquire about a visa or citizenship application contact the Department of Home Affairs on +61 2 6196 0196 or visit their website.

Where to get help

Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling service that supports serving members, veterans and their families impacted by the unrest in Afghanistan and the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry. This service is available at any time, day or night. The specialist counsellors have an understanding of military culture and experience and can be accessed online at Safe Zone Support webpage or call 1800 142 072. Calls to Safe Zone Support are not recorded

Current and ex-serving ADF personnel, and their families, can also access Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling. This national mental health service provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling. The Open Arms website also provides a range of self-help resources and wellbeing tools. Visit the Open Arms Website or phone 1800 011 046.

For all current ADF members and their families, the Defence all-hours Support Line is a confidential phone and online service and is available on 1800 628 036. Families of serving personnel can also contact the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608.

If you are unsure about the support available, please contact DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372). Information about support services can also be found on the IGADF website page.

Ex-service and non-government organisations 

If you are unsure about seeking Government support, there is support available elsewhere. 

Ex-service organisations play a vital and complementary role to DVA by providing mateship, advocacy and welfare support. Visit the Find an ex-service organisation webpage.

There are also a number of excellent non service-related community organisations available, such as Lifeline (call 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support or visit the Lifeline website). 

If you know someone in need, please pass on this important message – DVA is here to help.


We ask the media that when reporting on these matters you please provide the Open Arms support details for anyone who could be distressed or need help:

  • ADF personnel, veterans and their families can call Open Arms counselling on 1800 011 046 24 hours a day
  • If you need to talk but don’t want to disclose your name, please call Safe Zone Support on 1800 142 072. It offers anonymous counselling service for ADF personnel, veterans and their families. It's free and available 24/7.
  • If you are unsure about the support available, please contact DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).

For guidance on how to report safely on suicide and mental ill-health, please visit the Mindframe website.