Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Assistant Minister for Defence - Launch of the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme

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The Hon Stuart Robert MP

Assistant Minister for Defence

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11 June 2014

The Government has today launched the $5 million Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme which is a significant new programme of research into the mental health and wellbeing of contemporary service personnel and veterans. Defence will contribute $1.2 million and Veterans’ Affairs will contribute $3.8 million to this Research Programme. 

This Programme is the largest and most comprehensive programme of study undertaken in Australia to examine the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving personnel and their families who have deployed to contemporary conflicts.  The Programme will consist of three major studies.  The first two studies will be conducted by the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide.  The third study will be conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies.  

• The first study, the Mental Health and Wellbeing Transition Study, will target both serving and ex-serving personnel to determine their mental, physical and social health status. 

• The second study, the Impact of Combat Study, will comprehensively follow-up the mental, physical and neuro-cognitive health of personnel who deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations between 2010 and 2012. 

• The third study, the Family and Wellbeing Study, will investigate the impact of military service on the health and wellbeing of the families of serving and ex-serving personnel.

Tackling the mental health challenges facing veterans and their families is a key pillar of the Government’s plan for veterans’ affairs.  The Government spends around $166 million a year on meeting the mental health needs of Veterans and their families.  The funding for treatment is demand driven, and it is not capped - if treatment is needed, it is funded.

This Government is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past. This means we need to develop a strong understanding of the issues and challenges faced by veteran and defence communities including their families, and to have a robust evidence base to inform efforts to reduce stigma around mental illness and to keep improving our services.

The Government’s priority is to ensure that we have in place the mental health services and supports that are needed for veterans and their families. To this end, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs has introduced a new strategic research model which will support the Government to respond effectively to emerging issues facing the veteran and ex-service community.

With the increased operational deployment of the Australian Defence Force over more than a decade, and the drawdown of Defence Force operations in Afghanistan more recently, we need to better understand the physical, mental and social health needs of both serving and ex-serving personnel. 

A strong, vibrant and resilient community is an integral component of our Australian landscape.  History has shown that as a society, we support our mates through hard times.  We succeed when everyone works together.

Media inquiries:     

Ronaldson: Brad Rowswell 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796

Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203

Minister Robert: Richard Briedis 0477-391-174

Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127-1999

Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service (VVCS) and Veterans Line can be reached 24 hours a day across Australia for crisis support and free and confidential counselling. Phone 1800 011 046

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