New Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan

Improving the mental health and wellbeing and reducing the risk of suicide among our veterans and their families is at the forefront of a new four-year Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan launched in May.

The Strategy and Action Plan was a priority set at the Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Summit convened by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Darren Chester, in June last year.

Veterans, current serving members, families, government, researchers, peak health bodies, service providers and ex-service organisations all collaborated on the design of the Strategy and supporting Action Plan.

Cover of the new Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan.

The Strategy recognises that good mental health is supported by whole of life wellbeing. Over the course of this four-year strategy, DVA will drive a series of changes to enable a shift from an illness focus to a wellness focus. This move will better ensure we have the appropriate services available to support transitioning Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, veterans and their families to live healthy and productive lives.

Launching the Strategy and Action Plan, Minister Chester said: ‘For the vast majority of people, ADF service is overwhelmingly a positive experience. It’s good for the individual, it's good for our community and it's in our national interest.

‘Just like all Australians, there are times when veterans and their families may require additional support for their mental health and that is why the Federal Government has been working hard with DVA, Australian Defence Force leaders, ex-service organisations, medical professionals and the community to improve mental health outcomes for veterans and their families.

The Strategy builds on the work already underway with the announcement earlier this year by the Prime Minister of the establishment of a powerful new independent National Commissioner for Defence and Veteran Suicide Prevention to inquire into all suspected veteran and ADF suicides and their causes.

DVA will continue to work closely across government and with other organisations to ensure clients are serving, living and ageing well, with access to appropriate, integrated and effective services and support across the domains of wellbeing.

To download the Strategy and Action Plan, visit Veteran Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and National Action Plan 2020-2023. If you need help or someone to talk to, contact Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046 (available 24/7).