If that applies to you, please remember that our focus at the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) is to support your health and wellbeing. So, if you need mental health or medical support, we strongly encourage you to get in touch with us. DVA is not part of any investigation. Our only concern is your wellbeing.
To anyone who is serving in the ADF, or has served, or is close to a serving or ex-serving member, please remember:
- You should be immensely proud of your service, or your loved one’s service, and there is overwhelming respect in the Australian community for your service and sacrifice.
- If you need help dealing with the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry findings, reach out and get the specialist support you need. Support is readily available through DVA and is routinely used by thousands of serving personnel and veterans every year.
- Families, particularly children and teenagers, could also be affected by the Inquiry and there is support available for them as well.
- We don’t need to know what happened overseas. We just want to make sure you’re okay. And help you cope with what you are feeling today.
- DVA will prioritise the claims of any veterans who may be impacted by the Inquiry.
Where to get help
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.
All current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families can access Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling. Open Arms is a national mental health service that provides 24-hour free and confidential counselling. It is not part of the Department of Defence. Importantly the Open Arms website provides a range of self-help resources and wellbeing tools. Visit www.openarms.gov.au or phone 1800 011 046.
In addition, Safe Zone Support is an anonymous counselling service that has been established to support veterans and their families impacted by the IGADF Inquiry. Safe Zone Support is staffed by specialist counsellors who have an understanding of military culture and experience and can be accessed at: www.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.
Family of veterans or service personnel who are concerned about the impact the Inquiry may have on a loved one, can call DVA to seek guidance on the support available.
If you are unsure what support is available please contact DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).
Information about support services can also be found on the IGADF page of the DVA website.
If you know someone in need, please pass on this important message – DVA is there to help.
Ex-service and non-government organisations
- Ex-service organisations (ESOs) play a vital and complementary role to DVA by providing mateship, advocacy and welfare support. You can find ESOs on the DVA website.
- There are also a number of excellent non-service related community organisations available, such as Lifeline (call 13 11 14 for 24/7 crisis support or visit www.lifeline.org.au)
We ask the media that when reporting on these matters you please provide the Open Arms support details for anyone who could be distressed or need help.