Assistant Minister for Defence – Annual Digger Forum addresses support for wounded, injured and ill

The Assistant Minister for Defence, Stuart Robert MP, and the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison AO, have addressed the 2013 Chief of Army, Wounded, Injured and Ill Digger Forum in Canberra today.

Soldiers, their families and Army commanders, met with Army’s senior leadership and healthcare providers from the Department of Defence and Department of Veterans’ Affairs to discuss the care provided to soldiers with mental health injuries.

Mr Robert said the fourth Chief of Army Wounded, Injured and Ill Digger Forum emphasised Army’s commitment to providing the best care and support to their people.

“Army’s continued focus on mental health, in particular this year on depression, reflects its commitment to supporting its people and to encouraging all soldiers physically or psychologically injured, to access the support services available,” Mr Robert said.

“Soldiers and their families attending this forum make valuable contributions which shape and improve the framework and services to support wounded, injured and ill personnel, and I thank them for their involvement.”

Support for wounded, injured and ill personnel is co-ordinated between a number of agencies to ensure the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of individuals suffering from physical and mental health injuries.

Lieutenant General David Morrison said that Army’s continuing focus was on ensuring that soldiers and their families were not alone when faced with injuries related to their service.

“One of our greatest responsibilities is to ensure that soldiers who become wounded, injured or ill in the service of our nation receive the best care and support throughout their recovery,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“The Army’s annual Wounded, Injured and Ill Digger Forum provides us with an important opportunity to listen and learn from our soldiers and their families, while building a legacy of care and support for soldiers in the future.

“As an Army family, we need to look out for each other and provide support to those in need, particularly in relation to mental health injuries. 

“If you see someone feeling a bit down, take the time to ask them how they are doing.  If you are feeling depressed, it’s ok to ask for help.

“I want to destigmatise mental health issues and advise our people that you are not alone.”

Army’s Support to Wounded Injured and Ill Program was established in 2008 to meet the needs of an increasing number of wounded, injured or ill personnel resulting from operational deployments in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The program has established procedures for coordinating the clinical, rehabilitation and personnel management aspects of a wounded or injured member’s recovery.

Through activities such as the Wounded, Injured and Ill Digger Forum, Army continues to refine and develop its policies, framework and processes for supporting affected soldiers and their families.

Media contacts:

Richard Briedis (Minister Robert’s Office): 0477 391 174
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999

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