The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and ex-service community are often called upon to step up to help Australians during challenging times.
Throughout the past 18 months, members of the ADF have offered a reassuring presence when supporting local communities, whether it be at coronavirus testing checkpoints, evacuating families from bushfire- or flood-ravaged areas or assisting with clean-up operations.
Around 1,200 ADF personnel are currently assisting the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in aged-care and disability facilities, and supporting law enforcement agencies with mandatory quarantine arrangements among other duties through Operation COVID-19 Assist.
The ADF is also working with civilian agencies to help residents and businesses in recovering from the devastating floods in eastern Australia, particularly around Kempsey, Port Macquarie and Taree on the NSW mid-north coast.
DVA thanks ADF members for the work they have been doing and we remind them that we are here to support all those who serve our nation, domestically and abroad. We encourage serving personnel, ex-serving personnel and their families to know and connect with the support and services provided by DVA.
For instance, did you know that if an ADF member contracts COVID-19 as a result of their service they are able to lodge a claim for liability to ensure they receive ongoing treatment or compensation after they leave the ADF?
And did you know that if you have served just one day in the ADF and you need mental health support, you may be eligible for free mental health treatment for life? Known as Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC), it is available to you whether or not there’s a link between your condition and your military service. Reservists without continuous full-time service who participated in disaster relief, such as the recent bushfires and floods and COVID-19 Assist, border protection operations or who were involved in a serious service-related training accident may also be eligible. Please visit dva.gov.au/nlhc for more information.
If you require more immediate support, please contact Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling, which is available on 1800 011 046, 24/7. Importantly, the Open Arms website provides a range of self-help resources and wellbeing tools. Visit openarms.gov.au.
In addition, Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling service established to support those impacted by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry. Safe Zone Support is staffed by specialist counsellors who have an understanding of military culture and experience and can be accessed at: openarms.gov.au/safe-zone-support or 1800 142 072. Calls to Safe Zone Support are not recorded. Both current members of the ADF and veterans can access this service any time, day or night.
Did you know that Open Arms has also launched #Check5? This campaign encourages veterans to commit on social media to check in with five mates and encourage them to check in with five mates too. This proved incredibly successful in the lead-up to Christmas and we encourage you to get involved.
Sapper Kelvin Marquinez from the 5th Engineer Regiment (right) and Private Riva Brown from the Royal New South Wales Regiment assist in the clean-up efforts in Wingham during Operation NSW Flood Assist. Photo: Department of Defence.
Able Seaman Medics Aaron Jones (left) and Riley Hansen (right) with Montfort Adams at Jonathan Rogers GC House in Nowra, NSW. The ADF is supporting the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out in aged-care and disability facilities. Photo: Department of Defence
Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling provides mental health support 24/7 on 1800 142 072.