Supporting veterans amid recent events in Afghanistan

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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.

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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.

Catch up on the webinar, ‘Supporting Veterans Mental Health Following Withdrawal from Afghanistan’, to find out how you can best support veteran patients who may be struggling with their mental health following the recent events in Afghanistan.

Hosted by Phoenix Australia, experts in trauma mental health and wellbeing, this one hour webinar explores:

  • what your veteran patients may have experienced on deployment;
  • what they may be going through at the moment (e.g. dealing with complex emotional and mental trauma issues);
  • how to support their mental health with understanding; and
  • services and resources available to assist you and your veteran patients.

The webinar recording and transcript are now available:

Video transcript – Supporting veterans’ mental health following withdrawal from Afghanistan

Download the webinar Q&A follow-up and supporting resources

Visit our provider web pages

Our provider web pages include information about:

Be aware of DVA provider news articles

Visit our DVA Provider News page for what you need to know when treating veteran patients during the pandemic, including information on telehealth and shopping assistance.

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For GPs

We have specific information for GPs.

GP information page

Visit our GP information page. This provides a one stop web page that links to the key information you need to know when treating DVA clients.

Veteran Mental Health GP Assistance Support Service and Advice Line

Get help to support your veteran patients via the Veteran Mental Health GP Assistance Support Service and Advice Line.

This gives you access to free consultations with veteran mental health subject matter experts, supporting Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology consultations.

You can call the hotline on 1800 VET 777 (1800 838 777)

The Phoenix Australia website has links to best practice and professional development resources.

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Services for your patient

You can tell your patients about services that can help them.

Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling is a national mental health service. It provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling to current and ex-service ADF personnel and their families.

The Open Arms website has a range of self-help resources and well-being tools.

Your patients can access Open Arms:

Safe Zone Support

Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling service that supports serving members, veterans and their families. This service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The specialist counsellors have an understanding of military culture and experience and can help those impacted by the:

  • unrest in Afghanistan
  • Inspector General’s Australian Defence Force (IGADF) Afghanistan Inquiry

Your patients can access Safe Zone Support:

Calls to Safe Zone Support are not recorded.

Defence Member and Family Hotline

The Defence Member and Family Hotline is available for all current ADF members and their families.

This is a confidential service and is available 24 hours and day, 7 days a week.

Current ADF members and veterans can call 1800 628 036

Families of serving personnel can call the Defence Family Helpline on 1800 624 608

Ex-service and non-government organisations

Ex-service and non-government organisations play a vital and complementary role to DVA by providing mateship, advocacy and welfare support.

Veterans can visit our Find an ex-service organisation page.


Patients can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for crisis support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

They can also visit the Lifeline website.

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Your own care

Look after yourself. It’s important to check in with yourself, practise self-care and tap into your support system.

We understand this is a particularly challenging time for GPs and other health care workers.

We thank you for your continued care of our veterans.

If you are unsure about the support available, please contact us on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372)

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