DVA Provider News article - August 2021.

Health providers supporting veterans amid recent events in Afghanistan

Key information for health providers supporting veterans amid recent events in Afghanistan.

In light of the media coverage of the recent events in Afghanistan, showing your veteran patients understanding and responding appropriately to their needs will be vital to supporting their mental health and wellbeing.

Combined with the stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic your veteran patient may need increased mental health or medical support.

How you can support your veteran patient

Here are the key things you can do to provide optimum support to your veteran patient during this challenging time:

Tell your patient about:

  • Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling. This national mental health service provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling available to current and ex-service ADF personnel and their families. 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.
  • Safe Zone Support — 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.
  • 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.
  • Ex-service and non-government organisations who play a vital and complementary role to DVA by providing mateship, advocacy and welfare support. Veterans can visit the Find an ex-service organisation webpage.
  • Lifeline — patients can call 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support or visit the Lifeline website.

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.

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