Veterans’ Health Week focuses on mental wellness

Veterans’ Health Week aims to highlight the importance of good mental health and raise awareness of health and wellbeing generally in the veteran and Defence community. In 2019 it was held from 26 October to 3 November with the theme of mental wellness.

12 December 2019

More than 270 registered events were held across Australia for veterans, current serving personnel and their families. These included golf days, group walking events, presentations about mental wellness, and workshops to help with stress management.

Good mental health is crucial to your overall health and wellbeing, and plays a key role in overcoming life’s challenges. While we focused on mental wellness this year, good mental health is an ongoing journey for many veterans, so here are some tips to help you maintain good mental health and general wellbeing: 


As social beings we need connection with others for our wellbeing. More and more research is telling us that social support and social connection are one of the keys to ageing well. So share your life with your family and friends, including key life events with them, the good and the bad. 


Be part of a community and engage in activities such as volunteering. Giving back to the community can boost your mental and physical health as it creates a sense of purpose, reduces stress, combats depression and keeps you mentally stimulated. It can also boost your social connection. 


Make sure you are taking time to build yourself up. You can do this a few different ways such as: exercise, sleep, education and diet. Exercise can improve your mood, better manage stress and protect you from getting sick. 

You could also join a group class or exercise with friends to maintain your social connection – two birds, one stone, as the old saying goes.

Sleep can make all the difference as it helps your body with restoration and repair. It has also been found to help you process emotional memories.

Keeping your mind active helps you maintain your brain’s ability to change, be agile and curious about life. So try learning something new every day and stepping out of your comfort zone. Finally, eat good-quality wholefoods. By doing this you can maintain a healthy weight, reduce inflammation and promote a good immune system.

No matter where you are on your journey, Open Arms – Veterans & Family Counselling Service is there to help you, offering free & confidential counselling to the veteran community on 1800 011  046.

Two women pose for camera, stretching on yoga mats in a marquee.

Tamworth RSL Sub Branch President Jayne McCarthy (left) with an exercise physiologist at Tamworth Mental Health and Wellbeing Expo, held at the West Tamworth League Club on 3 November.

five people pose next to a horse at some kind of horse place.

The Heroes on the Homefront Equine Therapy event held on 31 October in Dublin, South Australia. Most attendees were current serving ADF personnel. 

Four smiling  people attend a woman conducting the session.

A mindfulness session called ‘Self Care by Design’ event held in partnership between RSL Defence Care NSW, DVA and Open Arms. The event took place on 1 November at DVA’s Sydney office.