The past year has presented many challenges for our veteran community – leaving some feeling anxious and unsure about what the New Year will bring.
The bushfires, coronavirus pandemic, and recent release of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry findings have all impacted our lives in some way, and Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling has seen a 35% increase in counselling sessions across the country.
Service in the ADF brings a unique set of challenges – both for those who serve and for those who support them. It also brings opportunities to learn first-hand the importance of resilience, mateship and compassion, and other skills we can use to strengthen our own wellbeing and to assist others in times of uncertainty.
The foundation skills for living well are:
While you are establishing or recalibrating these areas of your life, you can also try:
- getting your information from reliable sources
- balancing your exposure to media
- calming your emotions with our self-help tools
- practising kindness and gratitude
Cultivating an attitude of gratitude leads to better sleep, physical and mental health, self-esteem and resilience. It is also associated with increased empathy, decreased aggression, and building stronger relationships.
Setting aside a time and place to deliberately think of what you are thankful for is important. Doing this with others allows you to inspire and be inspired by them.
Friends and family can be a great source of support, but sometimes we are better served by that extra help from outside your usual circle. We encourage anyone who may be, or may become, affected by the IGADF report to reach out for support 24/7 on 1800 011 046. We are here to help.
We also host Safe Zone Support, which offers anonymous and free support with specialised counsellors who have an understanding of military culture. They’re here to listen and help on 1800 142 072. Safe Zone Support is available 24/7 and calls are not recorded.
Additional support information, including access to mental health, medical, legal, pastoral and social work services, is listed on the Inspector-General ADF Afghanistan Inquiry page of the DVA website.
Throughout all these challenges, the Defence qualities of loyalty, resilience, teamwork, leadership, personal integrity, sacrifice and respect remain important.
And it is important to remember that the Australian community remains very grateful for your service.
We are stronger, together.