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:
- Demonstrate an understanding of the military experience. This can strengthen the therapeutic alliance and the delivery of effective treatment. Veterans are more likely to engage with health care practitioners they feel understand, or seek to understand, their mental health problems within the context of their military service.
- Visit our provider webpages on the DVA website — which includes information:
- Veteran Cards and what they cover
- Veteran Health Check
- Coordinated Veterans’ Care program — where GPs and a nurse coordinator work together to proactively manage Veteran Gold Card holders with chronic conditions and Veteran White Card holders with accepted mental health conditions
- Non-Liability Health Care for mental health treatment.
- Keep abreast of DVA updates with our DVA Provider News articles.
- Visit our Provider COVID-19 webpage for what you need to know when treating veteran patients during the pandemic, including information on telehealth and shopping assistance.
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 know someone in need, please pass on this important message — DVA is here to help.